Zoot Sims (as, ts, bs), John Williams (p), Knobby Totah (b), Gus Johnson (d)
Reference: FSRCD 434
Bar code: 8427328604345
Bob Brookmeyer did especial well in describing the power of Zoot's playing when he said, "Zoot plays earthy. He is direct, simple, logical, and above all, emotional".
About the first LP on this Cd set (1-8), Nat Hentoff wrote in Down Beat, "Zoot is one of the very few jazzmen who can make 12" of a one-horn LP a constantly experience. His time is apparently as natural in him heartbeat, and his work here is as clear and memorable a definition of what swinging is as you can find".
On the second albulm (9-16), through multiple taping, Zoot blows alto, tenor and baritone saxophones in unison, opening and closing passages, soloing individually on each horn on the body of George Handy's inventive compositions. Dom Cerulli, in his highly enthusiastic review in Down beat, said: "Handy's writing is as constantly alive and imaginative, as Zoot's playing is forceful and swinging." This Cd reinforces Zoot's stature as a major jazz instrumentalist.
This is the first time on CD for two mid-1950s Sims albums, Zoot and the
eponymous Plays etc, made within a month of each other. Warm and consistent, they're archetypal Zoot Sims, sharing the same rhythm section lead by John Williams (piano). The first is distinguished, inter alia, by a glorious The Man I Love and That Old Feeling. It's equalled by the second, on which Sims, with the help of multi-tracking and excellent charts by George Handy, scoots brilliantly through a programme of the composer's music. In their hands the device is no gimmick, with some beautifully conceived and executed saxophone section writing and high- quality solo work from Sims. Asked to name his favourite album of those he had made, he picked Plays. **** - by Ray Comiskey
The release date is a few days away, but you may want to get in line now. Zoot Sims Plays 4 Altos all but evaporated as an LP a few years after its release in 1957. Devotees of Sims and George Handy have been clamoring for its reissue ever since. Mint copies of the LP have sold well into three figures. Based on Sims' initial improvisation, Handy brilliantly scored arrangements for four alto saxophones. Sims then overdubbed the additional three parts. It was a thoroughly musical tour de force. The CD also includes the 1956 album Zoot!, with Sims on alto and his mainstay tenor, one horn at a time. Handy plays piano on both albums. Trumpeter Nick Travis, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Osie Johnson are on Zoot! Knobby Totah and Nick Stabulas are the bassist and drummer on 4 Altos. This is a reissue event. By Doug Ramsey (June 26, 2007)
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