Zoot Sims: Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams

Zoot Sims started doubling on soprano sax in 1973, well into his 40s. Until then he was known as an excellent hard-swinging Lester Young-influenced tenor saxophonist, a melodic player with a succulent tone and a vigorous though economical approach to improvisation. That description, it turned out, applied equally to Sims's playing on soprano, which if anything raised his already secure reputation as a complete and polished musician.

"Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" is from his only recording session devoted exclusively to the soprano. His sound on the straight horn is strikingly individual, almost like a cross between clarinet and alto sax. Sims's assured, driving solo features swooping, precisely articulated lines and rousing upper-register wails. The spirit of Sidney Bechet lurks, but it's all Zoot. Bryant's exuberant solo, in his usual surging style, seems ready to burst into stride or boogie-woogie at times, and the way his left hand complements his right brings to mind Earl Hines. Sims returns with some long-held notes and swirling extended phrasings, inventively and persistently embellishing the theme during the out chorus. The soprano sax has rarely been played any better than this.

May 02, 2008 · 0 comments


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