Zoot Sims

Lost Tapes: Zoot Sims: Baden-Baden, June 23, 1958

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Germany's Jazzhaus label claims to be sitting on one of the biggest treasure troves of unreleased live material by jazz artists dating back as far as 1949. Previous excellent volumes by Cannonball Adderley, Albert Mangelsdorff, Dizzy Gillespie, and others have proven them true to their word. The source material for these recordings is German radio and television programs, but the sound on these sets is consistently very high quality. This jam session date from Zoot Sims in 1958, in what was then West Germany, finds him in the company of four German or Austrian reed players, American trombonist Willie Dennis, and a more than capable rhythm section consisting of drummer Kenny Clarke, bassist Peter Trunk, and pianist Hans Hammerschmid. Sims, who plays on all but three tracks -- on either tenor, alto, or clarinet -- is in absolutely top form, swinging like mad even on nuggets such as "Tangerine" and the blindingly fast "Alan's Alley," where his is the only horn. His tone is clean yet earthy, while his phrasing is lyric, fluid, and propulsive: an anomaly early in the 21st century. Other highlights, for him, include two Hammerschmid originals' "Blue Night" and "Open Door," as well as his own "Trottin'," that closes out the set. The only problem here is with Jazzhaus' documentation -- there's a notable error in Hans Koller's vehicle. Though it is actually “They Say It’s Wonderful,” it is credited as Richard Rodgers' "Fallin’ in Love” (the composer's name is misspelled on the sleeve as well). While this is an irritant, it's a small one; these recordings are well worth purchasing for their quality. This one is a fantastic reminder of Sims' greatness.

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