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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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Zoot SIMS

Lost Tapes: Baden-Baden -
June 23, 1958

Jazz Haus SWR 101715

 

 

Side A: 1. All The Things You Are (Jerome Kern) [5:48]; 2. Minor Meeting For Two Clarinets (Hans Hammerschmid) [6:40]; 3. Blue Night (Hans Hammerschmid) [5:47]; 4. Open Door (Hans Hammerschmid) [4:17] [22:32]
Side B: 5. Fallin' In Love (Richard Rogers) [4:10]; 6. I Surrender Dear (Harry Barris) [3:56]; 7. Tangerine (Victor Schertzinger) [3:39]; 8. I'll Remember April (Gene De Paul) [8:56] [20:42]
Zoot Sims (tenor saxophone, clarinet)1,2,3,4,7, Hans Koller (tenor saxophone, clarinet)1,2,3,4,5,8, Adi Feuerstein (flute) 3,4, Gerd Husemann (flute) 3,4, Willie Dennis (trombone) 3,8, Helmut Brandt (baritone saxophone) 3,6, Hans Hammerschmid (piano) all, Peter Trunk (bass) all, Kenny Clarke (drums) all.
rec. studio of the Sdwestrundfunk Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany June 23, 1958. Remastering: Manfred Deppe & Andrea Walz.
[43:15] Vinyl Disc

This, the second of the two vinyl discs recently received from the Jazz Haus label is another example of the hugely valuable work they are performing for the jazz lover and for the archives of music history in general. This time it is a particular minor miracle to have restored and remastered a long forgotten recording from 54 years ago that hasn't been heard since a poor pressing from 1988 was released. What we get here is a brilliant jam session with a group of musicians from among Germany's greats together with Zoot Sims in peak form and Kenny Clarke who had quit the MJQ two years earlier. It was Joachim-Ernst Berendt, a real mover and shaker on Germany's post-war jazz scene who organised this studio concert once he'd heard that Zoot had agreed to an invitation to go and play with Hans Koller a Viennese-born tenor player considered the "coolest" tenorist in Europe at the time. Adding in a formidable line-up of other players the concert was recorded on June 23, 1958 in Baden-Baden and lay among the SWR archives for most of the ensuing years so it is an absolute joy to be able to enjoy this release in sound that is clearer than anything that could have come before apart from the live session itself. The disc gets off to a great start with All The Things You Are in which the two sax players establish their superlative credentials with a beautifully lyrical rendition of this wonderful Jerome Kern standard during which they pass the tune between them equally. Next pianist Hans Hammerschmid's Minor Meeting for Two Clarinets see the two saxophonists exchange their horns for clarinets and prove they were just as adept with that instrument but then in Zoot's case he had worked in both Woody Herman's and Benny Goodman's bands and what better clarinet role models than them could anyone possibly find. Hammerschmid was clearly a composer of great ability as proved by that tune and the next two and Blue Night begins with his piano solo that establishes a potent silky smooth atmosphere reminiscent of any basement jazz club of that era and which plays that trick of fooling you into believing you've heard the tune before even though you know you haven't. Side A closes with Open Door (pun unintended), another Hammerschmid original which allows Kenny Clarke to demonstrate his drumming prowess, "bookended" by the two sax greats. Side B opens with Richard Roger's Fallin' in Love which lets Hans Koller do his own thing to the satisfaction of an appreciative audience. I Surrender Dear has the two tenors sitting it out while Helmut Brandt a baritone saxophonist in true Gerry Mulligan mould floats superbly in that special way baritone saxes exert. Tangerine is Zoot Sims' turn to show his solo talents on his chosen instrument that underlines his deserved place in the all-time great tenor sax players' list. A quintet line-up closes the disc with Hans Koller joined by Willie Dennis' superb trombone playing, Hammerschmid on piano and rhythm section Peter Trunk on bass and Kenny Clarke's drums whose perfect backing to I'll Remember April, another fabulous standard from the Great American Songbook, provides a fitting end to a jazz nugget that Jazz Haus cannot be praised too highly for unearthing, remastering and allowing new generations to enjoy and to wish they'd been around in the 1950s when so much brilliant jazz was created.

Steve Arloff

See also review by George Stacy



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