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Four Classic Albums [Stretching Out / Starring Zoot Sims / Down Home / The Jazz Soul Of Porgy And Bess] Double CD
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Starring Zoot Sims (Remastered)
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AVID Jazz here presents four classic Zoot Sims albums as leader and sideman including original LP liner notes on a finely re-mastered and low priced double CD. 'Stretching Out'; 'Starring Zoot Sims'; 'Down Home' and 'The Jazz Soul Of Porgy and Bess'. Some suitably hip, 'beat' and slightly obscure original liner notes written by Bob Brookmeyer accompany our first selection 'Stretching Out'. We think it's best just to listen to Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Bob Brookmeyer, Harry Edison, Hank Jones, Eddie Jones and Freddie Green doing their thing in 1961……………..and like dig it man! Next up 'Starring Zoot Sims' with Henry Renaud and his Orchestra featuring Jon Eardley on trumpet, Renaud on piano, Benoit Quersin on bass and Charles Saudrais on drums. Recorded in Paris in 1958 this great improvised swing session features music of a 'uniformly high order'. The 'cool' but increasingly muscular sound of Zoots tenor dominates our third set 'Down Home' recorded in New York in 1960. 'Down Home' features Zoot in quartet mode alongside Dave McKenna on piano, George Tucker on bass and Dannie Richmond on drums where the quartet has a 'down to earth attitude about playing jazz that is complementary to their leader'. 'The Jazz Soul Of Porgy and Bess' is just what it says on the label, to use that awful phrase! The classic opera performed by a bunch of jazz musicians, conducted, orchestrated and arranged by Bill Potts. A & R Director Jack Lewis whose idea it was, knew just what he wanted, 'a completely orchestrated version and an overwhelming one at that'. And that is just what he got with the help of amongst others , Zoot Sims, Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Evans, George Duvivier and Charlie Persip. All four albums have been digitally re-mastered for probably the finest ever sound quality!
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The earliest album in this 2-CD set was recorded in Paris in March 1956, with a small group led by pianist Henri Renaud, with trumpeter Jon Eardley, Benoit Quersin and drummer Charles Sudrais. It was released in France on the Ducretet-Thompson label as "Zoot Sims in Paris", but appears here as "Starring Zoot Sims" from the English issue. "Stretching Out" was recorded by the Zoot Sims/Bob Brookmeyer Octet in December 1958, and issued by United Artists. Saxophonisr Al Cohn, trumpeter Harry Edison, pianist Hank Jones, guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Eddie Jones and drummer Charlie Persip made up the numbers. Zoot's next visit to the recording studio in January 1959 was as one of a nineteen-piece band directed by Bill Potts in "The Jazz Soul of Porgy & Bess", another United Artists release. Finally, "The Great Zoot Sims: Down Home" dates from June 1960, showcases Zoot in a quartet, with pianist Dave McKenna, bassist George Tucker, and drummer Dannie Richmond, and was released by Bethlehem.
Zoot's sinewy tone dominates the proceedings on the three small group albums and, given his preference for playing with a conventional rhythm section, it's apparent that he chose his backing with care. The concentration is upon jazz and songbook standards, and there's a great sense of drive and a spirit of exuberance throughout. The Gershwin album takes the listener into different territory, and of necessity Zoot's role was subjugated to that of a sideman and occasional soloist. Given the extent of Zoot's recordings as leader, this seems a somewhat strange choice to complete the set, but to withhold a fifth star would be to look a gift horse in the mouth.
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