Zoot Sims: Moonlight in Vermont


Moonlight in Vermont


Zoot Sims (soprano sax)


Soprano Sax (Pablo 2310-770)

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Zoot Sims (soprano sax), Ray Bryant (piano), George Mraz (bass), Grady Tate (drums).

Composed by John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf


Recorded: New York, January 8 or 9, 1976


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Not many swing or bop saxophonists have put the soprano to good use—few if any during the '30s and '40s, when those styles were gestating. However, in the '60s and '70s a few veterans picked up the horn and made good music with it, among them Phil Woods, Jimmy Heath, Dexter Gordon, and Zoot Sims. The latter recorded an especially attractive album of soprano performances in 1973. Sims transported his suave, deftly swinging style from tenor to soprano, lock, stock, and barrel, with great success. On the ballad "Moonlight in Vermont," Sims highlights the horns sweeter qualities. His soprano sound is an extension of his tenor sound—slightly breathy, smooth and effortless, without a hint of the nasal quality that seems to naturally infect the playing of many more modern players. And oh how he swings! It's enough to make one regret that the horn didn't find wider acceptance back in the day. Who knows how the horn would've sounded in the hands of the great swing era saxophonists? Until someone uncovers some long-lost recordings of Lester Young playing the soprano, this is as close as we're likely to get.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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