Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Master of the Tenor and Soprano Sax
John F. Temmerman | Skokie, Il United States | 01/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Zoot Sims is a mainstream jazz saxophone player I really enjoy. On tenor, he had a light, cool sound, out of the Lester Young tradition, which warmed a bit later in his career. His sense of time, his hard-swinging note choices, his ability to communicate at all tempos made his a great tenor player. It's interesting that I enjoy Zoot so much, since I always liked the gruff, earthy Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young's contemporary, better than Lester. But, for me, Zoot's soprano playing is even better. A very warm, swinging , satisfying approach, influenced by Sidney Bechet, in contrast to most of the players of the 60's and beyond, including Trane, his followers, and others who cultivated a nasal, outside tone on the soprano. I enjoy the outside sound of the soprano, with my favorite probably being Trane's version of My Favorite Things live at Newport. Still, I had a revelation when I discovered Zoot on soprano. I heard the way I'd like to approach communicating on the soprano. His heavenly sound and note choices on soprano invariably move me and his playing has provided great inspiration to me as a soprano player. I purchased this album basically because I liked Zoot and I liked the choice of tunes. I expected to enjoy this, but it's ability to move me was beyond all expectations This particular CD is from a live date in 1983 in San Francisco, featuring Zoot with the Shelly Manne Trio, with (of course) Shelly Manne on drums, and Frank Collett on piano and Monty Budwig on bass. The tunes are all standards, ranging from the frequently performed "I'll Remember April" (on tenor) and "Pennies from Heaven" (played heavenly on soprano) to more obscure tunes such as "Dream Dancing", "I Hear a Rhapsody", "Tonight I Shall Sleep" (on soprano) and "Changes", Zoot playing tenor on the other tunes. The trio performs without Zoot in a tasteful rendition of "If You Could See Me Now". The tempos range from ballad to bright but are mostly at medium, swingy tempos. The highlight of the set is his soprano work on "Pennies From Heaven". My CD player's repeat track is usually on when I listen to this. He plays the melody in his swinging way, then contributes a soprano solo that swings and sounds wonderful throughout the range of the instrument, no mean feat on soprano. Another enjoyable feature of the solo is that the first chorus of his solo is over a very minimalist bass and drum accompaniment until chorus two where the entire supporting cast lead Zoot into Major Swing! Zoot's tenor work is most enjoyable on I Hear a Rhapsody and I'll Remember April, contributing to hard-swinging, multi-chorus solos. He does quite well on the other tunes on both his horns. The supporting trio is very tight. You can tell that they've played together a lot in how they blend with each other and support Zoot's and their own solos. The 51-minute CD ends far too quickly. This is a wonderful set if you like mainstream jazz and I would recommend it to anybody. For saxophone players, Zoot's work is accessible enough so that transcription is an attainable task."
The last Korner
Ozzie | Brugge, Flanders | 09/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Zoot Sims, that soft-voiced master of the tenor saxophone, had nothing left to prove when this album was recorded in 1983. His style had remained unchanged over the years, and he continued to play in his familiar, melodic style all during his career. This was the last recording session at the famous Keystone Korner in San Francisco, shortly before the building had to make way for supposedly better things. Monty Budwig (bass) and Shelly Manne (drums) play with their usual class, while lesser-known pianist Frank Collett fits in perfectly. On "Tonight I shall sleep" Zoot brings out his soprano saxophone, his performance proving that he's not sleepy just yet ! Any fan of Zoot's, any fan of mainstream jazz, will enjoy this album."