Simple and elegant genius from Zoot Sims – an overlooked quartet session recorded with George Handy on piano, Wilbur Ware on bass, and Osie Johnson on drums. Handy was the famous arranger for the Boyd Rayburn group in the 40s, and here he arranges the whole set – and also contributes a number of original tunes – making for a very fresh session that gets Zoot far past the usual bag of well-worn standards. And with Ware on bass, there's an extra depth to the set in the rhythm department that opens things up nicely – not dramatically, but enough to allow for some more emphatic playing on the part of Sims!
The music on this LP recalls the airy "Four Brothers" sound that tenor saxophonists Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Herbie Steward, and baritone saxophonist Serge Charloff, plied in Woody Herman's band of 1947. For this outing, Steward and Charloff exit, and four become five with the addition of tenor luminaries Al Cohn, Brew Moore, and Allen Eager. The set appropriately kicks off with Gerry Mulligan's "Five Brothers," a tune reminiscent of Jimmy Giuffre's original "Four Brothers" in its fluid and bouncy arrangement. Three other attractive and similarly disposed originals (one more by Mulligan and two by Cohn) complete the saxophone session from 1949, all featuring swinging statements by each soloist. A 1952 sextet date led by Sims and Cohn is also included, offering up another round of original and buoyantly swinging cuts, bolstered by lively contributions from trombonist Kai Winding and solid rhythmic support by pianist George Wallington, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Art Blakey. A fine release that nicely showcases the cool, proto-West Coast bop forged by both these soloists and Miles Davis.
The slightly unusual date Two Jims and a Zoot features tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims interacting with two guitarists (Jimmy Raney and Jim Hall) while given subtle support by bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Osie Johnson. Although the eight selections (none of which caught on as standards) had all been written recently and sometimes display the influence of bossa nova, the quiet performances could pass for 1954 rather than 1964. The cool-toned improvisations and boppish playing have a timeless quality about them although for the time period aspects of this music already sounded a bit old-fashioned.
Formerly put out by Storyville, this audiophile CD reissue features the great Zoot Sims performing in a quartet with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and two notable expatriates: pianist Kenny Drew and drummer Ed Thigpen…
24bit digitally remastered reissue. Comes housed in a cardboard sleeve. This release compiles two wonderful LPs presenting Zoot Sims playing bossa nova songs, as well as jazz standards in a bossa nova mood arranged by Manny Albam and Al Cohn: New Beat Bossa Nova (Colpix SCP435), and its sequel, New Beat Bossa Nova Vol. 2 (Colpix SCP437). Recorded in 1962, these were among the first albums to combine bossa nova and jazz. Both LPs feature the outstanding guitarist Jim Hall as a soloist.