The great tenor Coleman Hawkins started to go downhill in late 1965 (eating too little, drinking too much) and his career became progressively sadder until his death on May 19, 1969. This Enja CD (comprised of brand new material taken from a Baltimore club date) has five lengthy performances and strong work from the rhythm section (pianist Barry Harris, bassist Gene Taylor, and drummer Roy Brooks) but Hawkins' solos are consistently aimless and occasionally lost. His lines are shorter than in previous years and he seems to be gasping for air to an extent. The ironic part is that the audience is overly enthusiastic, loving every note no matter how desperate Hawkins sounds. Only on the brief closing "Ow" (where the tenor trades off very advanced phrases with Harris) does Hawkins sound up to par. Skip this set and acquire some of his many valuable earlier recordings instead.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow