Zoot SimsZoot Sims And The Gershwin BrothersOJC1975/2013 The Concord Music Group inaugurated their celebration of the 40th anniversary of Norman Granz's Pablo Records with the releases of John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions (Pablo, 1963/2013) and Sarah Vaughan-- Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook (Pablo,2013). These releases are to be followed by an additional five remasters, the first of which, Zoot Sims And The Gershwin Brothers, is considered here. Recorded in New York City at RCA Studios, June 6, 1975, Norman Granz paired Sims (1925-1985) with a dream rhythm ...read more
This Zoot Sims-Bucky Pizzarelli set of duets is now 33 years old but there's nary a sign of cobwebs here on a session in which the mutual pleasure of these two pros is happily apparent. If it contained only their bossa-flavored take on Michel Legrand's Watch What Happens," it would be well worth the price. As it begins, just a deft sprinkling of Pizzarelli's notes opens a path through which flows a generous outpouring of Sims' shimmering warmth. But before we get to that gem, a breathless joint response to Cole Porter's magnificently obsessive question, What Is This Thing Called ...read more
Jutta Hipp proves one of the more curious tales in a music whose history is full of curiosities: She grew up studying jazz piano and painting in her native Germany, then moved to New York City in late 1955. She played piano in and around the city for about a year, including performances documented on two 1956 live albums released by Blue Note.
Jutta with Zoot was recorded later in '56 and produced by Blue Note founder Alfred Lion with a cast of veteran sidemen including saxophonist Sims, who Hipp had met a few years earlier while Sims ...read more
I discovered jazz and Jack Kerouac at roughly the same time in my teens back in the early 1970s, when his seminal novel On The Road (Viking, 1957) hooked me into the bohemian world of jazz clubs, intense friendships and the never ending highway under wide open skies described in its pages.
It barely mattered that the quick fluid prose in which this hedonistic manifesto was rolled up in didn't always make sense--it was all about feeling something rather than necessarily understanding it. You dig?" wasn't a question as much as a state of mind. That same sensibility ...read more
Zoot Sims Zoot Sims and the Gershwin Brothers Pablo/OJC 1975
The beauty of jazz is there are always older recordings to be discovered and rediscovered. Zoot Sims and the Gershwin Brothers is one of these recordings. Long hailed as one of Sims's finest recordings, it was not until recently that it crossed my path. Everything in print was accurate. The recording is a blissfully successful bit of musical alchemy.
Recorded June 6, 1975, the recording was carefully considered in format, musicians, and repertoire (as opposed to a simple blowing session ...read more
This loose-limbed rendezvous sounds exactly as it was, an impromptu late-night jam session planned on the fly in someone’s apartment—in this case, however, no ordinary apartment but “The Playhouse,” a spacious second-story room above a garage and adjacent to the main house at Falcon Lair, the imposing Beverly Hills estate then owned by tobacco heiress Doris Duke and previously occupied by legendary silent film star Rudolph Valentino. Pianist Joe Castro, who was married to Duke from 1956-64, liked to invite his friends over for unrehearsed get-togethers, and one frequent guest who would blow anytime, day or night, at the drop ...read more
One of the more satisfying experiences in jazz is when some long forgotten (except by a few) gems have been unearthed, dusted off and reissued (or issued for the first time0. This CD seems to be a mixture of two - first time issued and reissued sessions coming from the 1970's. Sims and Venuti collaborated for the Chiaroscuro label in 1975. But the first nine cuts on this set are from a September 27, 1973 recording which has been cleaned and digitally remastered. Venuti was in his seventies and Sims in his fifties when this album was recorded and both ...read more
These two early 60s quintet dates are marvelous, a mother lode of timeless horn artistry. They’re both straight reissues — no alternate takes or unreleased tracks of any sort. The first, originally produced by Creed Taylor, pairs Stan Getz and Bob Brookmeyer, with Steve Kuhn, John Neves, and Roy Haynes in the rhythm section. Three of Brookmeyer’s tunes appear (that’s half the program right there), beginning with Minuet Circa ’61," a beautiful waltz that immediately establishes the rhythmic and timbral simpatico of the two principals. The uniqueness of both stylists is simply astounding. Brookmeyer begins his solo on the original ...read more
In the traits of tone and phrasing tenor icons Zoot and Jaws were hardly doppelgangers. Jaws of the clipped rasp and pinched carving wail and Zoot with the more effusive, easygoing sound- the two together made for instant and compelling contrast in terms of both philosophy and execution. The common ground the pair shared was in the terrain of no-nonsense hard driving swing and a willingness to vigorously pull out the stops when the chance presented itself. Convening under the concert tour umbrella of Norman Granz for a string of dates through Western Europe the duo was no doubt encouraged ...read more
If nothing else, this album is reaffirmation that Zoot Sims could play any style of music, with any type of jazz artist and play it like he has been doing it forever. At first blush the teaming of Lester Young derived Sims with the hard driving, tough tenor Coleman Hawkins-influenced Eddie Lockjaw" Davis seems out of place. But here they are in a whirlwind tour of Europe in 1975 accompanied by the Oscar Peterson Trio on which they took no prisoners. There Will Never Be another You" as much as any track exemplifies the excitement and energy of each performance. ...read more
Once again, Label M mines the vast resources of jazz performances that Baltimore's Left Bank Jazz Society sagaciously recorded, knowing that they were hearing unparalleled music in their midst but not knowing that it would entertain jazz listeners thirty-plus years hence. It seems that the Left Bank group was at its best when it recorded horns, and particularly saxophonists. Even on Easy As Pie, Dave Frishberg's piano lacks clarity due to the on-site instrument's limitations. Unfortunately, the same problem occurred on Cedar Walton's Left Bank re-release. However, even in the midst of a cheering and chatting crowd, Al Cohn's and ...read more
When Zoot Sims was “on” there were few saxophonists who could equal his seemingly effortless solos. He played with a rich bluesy tone that epitomized graceful, modern swing. Recorded in 1973, Zoot At Ease caught Zoot Sims at his best. But that’s not all: add a consistently inspired Hank Jones on piano, Milt Hinton on bass, and either Louis Bellson or Grady Tate on drums, and you have one helluva swinging band and one of the great Sims performances on record.
Hank Jones demonstrates cut after cut why he has been such a sought after pianist over the years. His ...read more
Ah, the circumstances that made dates like this possible. Trigger Alpert was a good walking bass of the old school; he played with Mundell Lowe and the folk singer Bob Gibson. He proposed a pianoless date with a lot of swinging, and set out looking for horns. He found them, all right: one look at the cast will make your mouth water – and he also got charts by Marty Paich and Dick Hyman. The sound is tight, and while the tunes are too short (you almost hear a stopwatch bearing down) there's’ time enough for great solos, charging riffs, ...read more
Although Al and Zoot recorded this session in 1959, this simpatico tenor duo would continue to record together right until the late 70s. Jazz Alive! gives you a taste of a typical" night at a hot New York jazz club. Sims and Cohn are accompanied by the rhythm team of Mose Allison (piano), Paul Motian (drums) and Nabil Totah (bass) on the first two tracks and then high-flying altoist Phil Woods joins the group for two more numbers. The program of three extended standards and the bop classic Wee Dot gives all the participants ample room to stretch. Al and ...read more
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