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Historic marker honoring Coleman Hawkins to be unveiled in Harlem on Sep. 9

Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins

The While We Are Still Here organization will unveil a historic marker honoring Coleman Hawkins in Harlem on Saturday, September 9 at 1 pm. The marker dedication will take place at 445 W. 153th Street. WBGO’s Sheila Anderson will host the event, which includes speakers Rene Hawkins (Coleman Hawkins’ son) and Colette Hawkins (his daughter), as well as guests George Coleman and Dr. Lewis Porter. In addition, a statement from Sonny Rollins will be read at the event. Following the marker dedication, a Second Line will march to the Sugar Hill Luminaries Lawn for a concert that will include a tribute to Hawkins at We are Still Here’s 7th Annual Sugar Hill Music Festival.

Hawkins, a longtime resident of Harlem, is recognized as one of the great innovators in jazz. His version of “Body and Soul” is considered one of the cornerstones to modern jazz and is cited as a major influence by Rollins. As a young man growing up in the Sugar Hill neighborhood, Rollins famously visited Hawkins at his apartment in Harlem and brought a publicity photo for him to autograph. The two later played together for an album called Sonny Meets Hawk!

While We Are Still Here is a heritage preservation organization, founded in 2015, that is installing 25 historic markers throughout Harlem, honoring individuals, organizations and events that have contributed to the neighborhood’s rich history and culture. Learn more about the organization here.

For over 27 years, Lee Mergner served as an editor and publisher of JazzTimes until his resignation in January 2018. Thereafter, Mergner continued to regularly contribute features, profiles and interviews to the publication as a contributing editor for the next 4+ years. JazzTimes, which has won numerous ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards for music journalism, was founded in 1970 and was described by the All Music Guide, as “arguably the finest jazz magazine in the world.”