Some of Hawkins' best combo work was cut during the '40s. Having returned from an extended European stay, Hawkins fell in with his old swing pals and also headed up quite a few outfits with emerging beboppers. This Classics disc reveals the contrasting mix with 23 sides featuring the tenor great with the likes of both swing trumpeter Charlie Shavers and bop iconoclast Thelonious Monk. The four Monk tracks, while not especially revealing, do contain some fine playing, especially on "Recollections" and "Drifting on a Reed." In addition to several quality performances with Shavers, the program also includes four excellent bluesy ballads featuring Hawkins with Buck Clayton, Teddy Wilson, Slam Stewart, and Denzil Best. And for early jump blues fans, there's even a clutch of numbers by Hawkins and Walter Thomas & His Jump Cats ("Lookout Jack!"). Lookout, indeed.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook