Reference Entry

Hawkins, Erskine

Brian Forés

in American National Biography Online

Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Hawkins, Erskine (26 July 1914–11 or 12 Nov. 1993), trumpet player, swing bandleader, was born Erskine Ramsay Hawkins in Birmingham, Alabama, the son of Edward Hawkins, a soldier, and Carey Hawkins (maiden name unknown), a teacher. Hawkins's father was killed in World War I while serving in France. His mother exposed Erskine and his four siblings to music. Hawkins began his musical education at five, initially playing drums and later moving on to alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, and trombone throughout his youth. From the time he was eight till he was twelve, he played in four- and five-piece bands during the summer. These performances took place at Tuxedo Park, just outside of Birmingham, where local musicians often gathered. Hawkins would later make the location famous with his hit “Tuxedo Junction.” It was Hawkins's music teacher, S. B. Foster, a trumpet player (referred to affectionately as “High-C” Foster), who persuaded Hawkins to take up the trumpet....

Reference Entry.  1355 words. 

Subjects: Brass ; Blues ; Jazz ; Conducting

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