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A Story About Zoot And Hawk


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Here’s an item purloined (with his permission) from bassist Bill Crow’s column “The Band Room” in Allegro, the publication of New York Local 802 of the American Federation Of Musicians.

Zoot Sims was one of the many tenor saxophonists who took Lester Young’s style as a starting point for their own development. But Zoot also idolized Coleman Hawkins. He once told me, “Hawk never played a wrong note in his life.” Zoot had a classic Volvo that he was very fond of. He had it completely overhauled, had it painted red, and polished up the chrome.He was showing it to Hawkins one day, and when Hawk turned the handle on the passenger door, the handle came off. He handed it to Zoot, who went around to the driver’s side and opened the door for Hawk, and then put the handle in the glove compartment. Because the door handle had come off in the hand of his idol, Zoot never had it repaired. The handle remained in Zoot’s glove compartment for the rest of his life.

If Bill’s story put you in a mood to listen to Zoot, you’re in luck. Here he is at the Cannes Jazz Festival in 1958 with Walter Davis, Jr., piano; Arthur Taylor, drums; and Doug Watkins, bass. They play, “I’ll Remember April.”

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