For a little while in the mid-'50s, Zoot Sims occasionally doubled on alto although he soon switched back exclusively to tenor where he had a stronger musical personality. On the CD reissue of Riverside's 1956 Zoot!, Sims plays alto on two of the seven tracks and works well with trumpeter Nick Travis. Actually, pianist George Handy, who contributed four originals (two standards and drummer Osie Johnson's "Osmosis" complete the program) and did all of the arranging, comes across as the key supporting player; bassist Wilbur Ware and Johnson are fine in quiet support. Although Handy's arrangements are a bit modern, this is still a typically hard-swinging and melodic Zoot Sims date.
Performance CreditsZoot Sims Quintet Primary Artist
Wilbur Ware Bass
George Handy Piano
Nick Travis Trumpet
Osie Johnson Drums
Zoot Sims Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Track Performer
Technical CreditsGeorge Handy Arranger,Composer
Vernon Duke Composer
Rube Bloom Composer
Jack Higgins Engineer
Osie Johnson Composer
Orrin Keepnews Producer,Liner Notes
John Latouche Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Ted Fetter Composer
Carol Reiff Galletly Cover Photo
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
George Handy's arrangements give these tunes a structure that is somtimes lacking in Zoot's records. The ensemble playing from the two horns just flat works great. If you dig small group cool jazz, you'll love the sound here. Zoot Sims was such a great improviser that producers occasionally would ask Zoot to get a group into the studio and just blow! That has a charm as well, and produced some of the most memorable sax solos ever recorded, but these well thought-out arrangements make this album a totally listenable experience from start to finish. And the charts certainly don't inhibit Zoot's creativity. He swings hard as usual. And he never plays an inappropriate phrase! Nick Travis on trumpet (another Woody Herman alum) keeps up with Zoot quite well in the improvisation department, although his chops weren't the best here. He splatters some notes here and there. But Miles did too! George Handy contributes some nice fills and solos on piano while Ossie Johnson on drums and Wilbur Ware on bass make you wonder why they aren't better known. Zoot's soaring alto work is featured on a couple of the cuts, while his better known tenor is used on the balance. This album was originally a Riverside label release, recorded in late 1956. Fantasy/Original Jazz Classics reissued the album on LP in the early 1980's and on CD some years later. The sound is good on any of these. If you're new to Zoot Sims, one of the very best jazz saxophonists of all time, this would be a great place to start or continue your appreciation of his talent. There's no waste here - an easy 5 star rating!
Interesting set - typical small group early Zoot jazz in most respects, with the addition of some 1950's "modern jazz" arrangements. You'll also get to hear Zoot swinging on alto sax, as well as his usual tenor. Sims had a great sense of "swing" - a really great sense of timing and phraseology.