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April 2004

Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims at E.J.'s Atlanta Georgia
Storyville

When Zoot Sims recorded this live show at E.J.'s in Atlanta in 1981, the tenorist was playing as well as he ever did. The tone was never more expressive, the technique more flawless, the drive more propulsive or the lines more imaginative-and with a local rhythm section at that. Paul Desmond once said that he needed a good rhythm section to play well, but Zoot could make any of them swing. Fortunately, that wasn't necessary in this case, since Zoot's Atlanta cohorts were first rate in their own right, with pianist Yancy Korosi, bassist Dewey Sampson and drummer James Martin each bringing impressive experience and skill to the proceedings. They work over some Sims favorites, such as "That Old Devil Called Love," "Jitterbug Waltz" and "In a Mellotone," and bring in the exceptional local tenorist Rick Bell for "Take the 'A' Train," "Groovin' High" and "Lester Leaps In." Bell displays a muscular tone and a hard boppish sensibility and swings hard on a series of imaginative solos. But as always when he's at his best, Zoot is perfection.

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Karl Esch

Zoot Sims

Originally published in April 2004
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