The Portuguese Jazz Hour label presents 25 tasty tracks from the first six years of tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims' recording career. The 18-year-old Lester Young devotee is heard as a member of the Joe Bushkin Sextet on four swingin' sides recorded for Commodore on May 24, 1944. He then resurfaces as accompanist on two romantic ballads sung by Harry Belafonte in 1949. Sims' first date as a leader came together in Stockholm, Sweden on April 23, 1950. He pays tribute to Prez with a smart rendition of "Tickle Toe" and communes with harmonica man Toots Thielemans on "All the Things You Are." A bop exercise titled "Yellow Duck" was recorded the following day using a group billed as "Zoot Sims & His Five Brothers." This little band included a trumpeter named Sixteen Eriksson, baritone saxophonist Lars Gullin and pianist Dick Hyman, who sounds very comfortable with the boppish "Duck." On June 9, 1950, Hyman and Sims sat in with Pierre Michelot and Ed Shaughnessy on what could be considered the best of the Parisian Vogue sessions led by Roy Eldridge; on "It Don't Mean a Thing" and "Ain't No Flies on Me" Eldridge sings in duet with Anita Love. Seven days later Sims led his own quartet date for Vogue, in collusion with Gerald Wiggins, Pierre Michelot and Kenny "Klook" Clarke. This excellent sampler of early Sims closes with four titles from a Prestige quartet session that took place in New York September 16, 1950 with John Lewis, Curly Russell and Don Lamond. All of the music on this album is exceptionally fine. It is highly recommended for walking, driving, cooking, partying, house cleaning, brushing the dog or combing the cat.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf