Scott Hamilton

Red Door: Remember Zoot Sims

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As of 1998, when this CD was released, Scott Hamilton had recorded over 30 albums as a leader for Concord. Although all are quite worthwhile, the swing tenor's consistency and unchanged style since the 1970s have resulted in a certain sameness and predictability to his recordings. This release, however, definitely stands apart from the crowd, for it is a set of tenor/guitar duets that Hamilton performs with Bucky Pizzarelli. A tribute to Zoot Sims (one of Hamilton's early influences), this is a very successful outing. Pizzarelli's mastery of the seven-string guitar allows him to play basslines behind solos, so one never misses the other instruments. Although the duo performs a variety of standards, there are also some lesser-known pieces among the highlights including the title cut, Al Cohn's "Two Funky People," the Sims/Cohn collaboration "Morning Fun," and the obscure "In the Middle of a Kiss." Both Hamilton and Pizzarelli sound inspired in this format, stretching themselves while always swinging. Pizz had recorded a duo album with Sims back in 1973, and Zoot also cut a full set with guitarist Joe Pass a couple years later. This excellent, slightly offbeat outing is on the same level as those two and is highly recommended to fans of swinging mainstream jazz.

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