Zoot Sims swinging bop tenor sax was always fluid and tasteful

and it was never dull. Zoot Sims warm tone and swinging delivery always sound fresh to me, although he did not vary his musical ideas that much as he aged.

Sims grew up in California, the member of a vaudeville family. He played drums and clarinet as a child and started on the tenor saxophone when he was 13. At age 15 he became a professional musician and in 1943 he began the first of several engagements playing with Benny Goodman. He played off and on with Goodman for the rest of his life. After a stint in the Army, another stint with Goodman and stints with others, he joined Woody Herman's big band in 1947. He was a member of the famous Four Brothers in the Herman band. The Four Brothers was a saxophone section consisting of a baritone and three tenor saxophones. Sims was opn tenor along with Herbie Steward and Stan Getz. Serge Chaloff played the baritone sax in thios famous sax section.

Sims played briefly in the big band of Buddy Rich, played in Benny Goodman's bop group in 1950, played briefly in Stan Kenton's band in 1953 and during these years played a lot as a freelancer. He toured Europe and recorded as a side man with Gerry Mulligan's groups in 1954 to 1956 and played as a soloist in the great Mulligan Concert Jazz Band in 1960. After this he led a number of bop quintet's with Al Cohn and made many other recordings.

Zoot Sims is not as influential as most of the other sax players I discuss. He did not break new ground nor create a new sound. But he what he did on his tenor sax was done very musically with consistently high skill and good taste and he is one of my favorite tenor sax players


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