Orrin's commentary (from his new liner notes): "Before [Coleman] Hawkins, the tenor saxophone-which has come to be one of the basic instruments of jazz-simply did not exist, a fact that would be disputed by neither Lester Young nor Ben Webster-his most prominent immediate successors-nor by Sonny Rollins or John Coltrane or anyone you might choose to put near the head of the line thereafter…This was not my only studio experience with Hawkins, although it was the only opportunity to deal with him strictly on his own terms, which is certainly the only appropriate way to approach a great artist."
Although Coleman Hawkins was 51 when THE HAWK FLIES HIGH was recorded in 1957, he hadn't lost any of the vigor or imaginative dexterity that had typified his original work in the `30s and `40s. In fact, one of Hawkins's greatest assets was his ability to adapt to and incorporate changing styles, and that's precisely what he does here by bringing his swing-inflected chops into a straight bop context. Surrounded by then-young firebrands J.J. Johnson and Idrees Sulieman (on trombone and trumpet, respectively), Hawkins turns in memorable performances on album highlights such as "Juicy Fruit," "Laura," and "Sanctity."
Although not as great as their near perfect first album, Flies On Fire's second album should is spectacular and should have been huge. The songwriting and vocals of leader Tim P, thrown over the driving rhythm section of Terry Messal and Rich D'Albis, lead one to think that Otis Redding the Rolling Stones and ZZ Top had a head on crash and then decided to bide time by playing a few new tunes while waiting for the ambulances to come and clear the scene…
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music.
Rare Bird's fab four Graham Field, Dave Kaffinetti, Steve Gould and Mark Ashton had created their own distinct sound using keyboards, bass and drums but without, unusually for the time, electric guitars. "As Your Mind Flies By" found them at the peak of their creative powers, especially on the mini-masterpiece "Flight", a four part Suite utilising their keyboard wizardry to the full. This Suite covering the whole of side 2 is a true Prog classic, unfortunately after this album the band underwent personnel changes and a change in musical direction also saw they were never to recover their previous creative form in Prog music.
Cross the Rollling Stones, Otis Redding and throw in a pinch of Z.Z. Top and Otis Redding and presto you've got FLIES ON FIRE…