July 26, 1914
Trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Erskine Hawkins was born in Birmingham. Known as the “Twentieth Century Gabriel,” Hawkins played trumpet for the Collegians, an Alabama State University jazz band that earned a reputation as one of the best in the country. In 1934, the band moved to New York and, with Hawkins as bandleader, became the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra. The orchestra quickly evolved into a popular dance band known for their flamboyant style, medium-fast tempos, and bluesy qualities. In 1939, they recorded their biggest hit, “Tuxedo Junction.” Hawkins was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.