Coleman Hawkins, Father of the Tenor Sax, …

was born on this date in 1904. Listen to his seminal recording of Body and Soul [RealOne Player file]. As writer Len Weinstock noted,

Hawkins himself didn’t think there was anything outstanding about his Body and Soul saying “it was nothing special, just an encore I use in the clubs to get off the stand. I thought nothing of it and didn’t even bother to listen to it afterwards”. But the solo, two choruses of beautifully conceived and perfecly balanced improvisation, caused an immediate sensation with musicians and the public. It is still the standard to which tenorists aspire. A parallel can be drawn between Hawkins’ Body and Soul and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address . Both were brief, lucid, eloquent and timeless masterpieces, yet tossed off by their authors as mere ephemera.

Lincoln well knew what he had done at Gettysburg, but it’s a nice analogy even so.