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Zoot Sims

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 22 November 2011

Zoot Sims was one of the most naturally talented saxophone players in jazz, most remembered for his incredible sense of swing. He was the archetypal saxophonist and found fame with the general public thanks to having a Muppets puppet modelled on him, right down to the name.
Born in 1925, Zoot grew up as the youngest in a family of vaudeville performers. He took up the saxophone, developing his signature sound in the early 1940s when he was picked up by bandleader Benny Goodman. A few years later he was playing alongside fellow saxophonists Stan Getz, Herbie Steward and Serge Chaloff in Woody Herman's famed Second Herd band.
But after a move to New York his career stalled and by the early 50s Zoot was making ends meet working as a house painter. He was rescued by the legendary baritone saxophone player Gerry Mulligan who asked Zoot to join his quartet. From the late 50s onwards Zoot went on to form a series of successful partnerships, the most enduring with tenorman Al Cohn. Although his style got gruffer with age, Zoot's popularity continued right up until his death in 1985.
Ken Clarke, QC, MP and his guest John Altman discuss Zoots' life and music, revealing how he never once lost his enthusiasm or that gifted sense of swing throughout his career.

Ken's guest John Altman is a BAFTA award winning film and television composer. He's also a saxophonist who has played with such jazz luminaries as Chet Baker, Slim Gaillard and Red Holloway. He's played on rock music sessions too with stars such as Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Jimmy Page and Little Richard. Zoot Sims is one of his all-time favourite musicians.

Music Played

12 items
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    Zoot Sims I've Heard That Blues Before (Zoot Sims)

    Artists: Dave McKenna (piano), George Tucker (bass), Dannie Richmond (drums)

    Zoot Sims Quartet with Dave McKenna: Down Home, LoneHillJazz, LHJ10198, tr 8

  • Image for Zoot Sims

    Zoot Sims Four Brothers (Jimmy Guiffre)

    Artists: Ernie Royal, Bernie Glow, Stan Fishelson, Irvin 'Marky' Markowitz, Shorty Rogers (trumpet), Earl Swope, Ollie Wilson, Bob Swift (trombone), Woody Herman, Herbie Steward, Stan Getz, Serge Chaloff (reeds), Fred Otis (piano), Gene Sargent (guitar), Walter Yoder (baritone saxophone), Don Lamond (drums)

    Woody Herman – Blowin’ Up a Storm, Affinity, CD Charly 100, tr 14

  • Image for Zoot Sims

    Zoot Sims Zoot Swings the Blues (Zoot Sims)

    Artists: Harry Biss (piano) Clyde Lombardi (bass) Art Blakey (drums)

    Zoot Sims - Complete Prestige and Vogue Studio Masters, Jazz Factory, JFCD 22873, tr 17

  • Image for Zoot Sims

    Zoot Sims More Bread (Ernie Wilkins)

    Artists: Al Cohn (tenor saxophone), Dick Sherman (trumpet), Dave McKenna (piano), Milt Hinton (bass), Osie Johnson (drums)

    From A to Z and Beyond, Bluebird, ND86469, tr 8

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    Zoot Sims Tenor For Two Please, Jack (Zoot Sims)

    Artists: Al Cohn (tenor saxophone), Hank Jones (piano), Milt Hinton (bass), Osie Johnson (drums)

    From A to Z and Beyond, Bluebird, ND86469, tr 12

  • Image for Zoot Sims

    Zoot Sims Two Funky People (Al Cohn)

    Artists: Al Cohn (clarinet), Mose Allison (piano), Teddy Kotick (bass), Nick Stabulas (drums)

    Zoot Sims and Al Cohn: Al and Zoot from Four Classic Albums, Avid, AMSC 969, CD 2, tr 3

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    Zoot Sims Too Close for Comfort (Bock, Holofcener, Weiss)

    Artists: Jerry Lloyd (trumpet), Jutta Hipp (piano), Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)

    Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims, Blue Note, BLP 1530, tr 6

  • Image for Zoot Sims

    Zoot Sims Bill Bailey (traditional)

    Artists: Dave McKenna (piano), George Tucker (bass), Dannie Richmond (drums)

    Zoot Sims Quartet with Dave McKenna: Down Home, LoneHillJazz, LHJ10198, tr 5

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    Zoot Sims Zonkin' (George Handy)

    Artists: John Williams (piano) Knobby Totah (bass) Gus Johnson (drums)

    Zoot Sims Plays Alto, Tenor and Baritone, Fresh Sound, CD 434, 12

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    Zoot Sims Apple Core (Gerry Mulligan)

    Artists: Conte Candoli, Don Ferrara, Nick Travis (trumpets) Willie Dennis (trombone) Alan Raph (bass trombone) Bob Brookmeyer (piano) Bob Donovan (alto saxophone) Gene Quill (alto saxophone, clarinet) Jim Reider, Gene Allen (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet) Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone) Buddy Clark (bass) Mel Lewis (drums)

    Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band (1960) Live in Zurich, Swiss Radio Days, TCB 02122, tr 7

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    Zoot Sims The Very Thought of You (Ray Noble)

    Artists: Jimmy Rowles (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass)

    Zoot Sims: Getting Sentimental (1975), Candid / Choice, 71006, tr 6

  • Image for Zoot Sims

    Zoot Sims I'm Getting Sentimental Over You (George Bassman)

    Artists: Jimmy Rowles (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass), Mickey Roker (drums)

    Zoot Sims: Getting Sentimental (1975), Candid / Choice, 71006, tr 1

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