Zoot Sims: Only a Rose

The Metropole Orchestra is the Netherlands’ house band. It must’ve cut about a thousand records backing visiting artists. Founded over fifty years ago, it began with seventeen pieces and now contains more than sixty, including a full string section. The competence of its performers and those who write charts for it is obvious and they play with enthusiasm, but have no identity. The arrangements on the this Zoot Sims album are generic.

Sims, on tenor and soprano sax, is in good form. Swinging was never a problem for Zoot, he swung as naturally as he breathed. Unfortunately he doesn’t get a chance to stretch out enough with the orchestra, which just fills up time with its undistinguished passages. Zoot’s heard to best advantage backed by only a rhythm section on three tracks. Check out his attractive paraphrase of “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You,” on which he also sings.