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Al Cohn and Zoot Sims on BBC radio 3

Young Col

Well-Known Member
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Geoffrey Smith's Jazz on radio 3 last night focussed on Al and Zoot, both during their great partnership performances and separately. Well worth a listen http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jyzdp

One of my favourite Zoot albums from 1975, late in his life, that was not mentioned in the prog is Basie and Zoot. I remember I was in Dobell's record shop in Charing Cross Road (remember that super emporium?) that year looking for a Christmas present and the album was on the turntable. I just had to buy it!
YC
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
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508
That's a great album - Zoot was such a player and, by all accounts, a nice man, if a little prone to liking a cold drink on a hot day.

I saw Al Cohn in Brisbane in about 1984. There a was a funny restaurant/jazz club called Sweet Patootie, run by a local doctor who was a very keen clarinet player in the Woody Allen style. The place was a living - actually pretty dead - example of the old line about how to make a million dollars. Start with 10million and open a jazz club.

It was Sunday lunch gig - and the four of us were the only people there. Nearest I've ever come to a private party - but what a waste!
 

Young Col

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2,419
Good story Kingsley! The leader of our sax ensemble, an ex-Irish Guards bandsman, told me he was on a military visit to San Francisco and they went to a club where Zoot was playing. They managed an invitation to meet Zoot backstage and he chatted at length and shared his whiskey with them.

I saw Al and Zoot together and Zoot on his own at Ronnie Scott's. Unforgettable.

I thought someone posted a video of Zoot recently. Can't find it on forum but here's the link http://youtu.be/wRKgK1NLRlA . Very laid back.

Another good album is For Lady Day, with the excellent and quirky Jimmy Rowles. I also recommend Robert Fowler and Karen Sharp's tribute album to Al and Zoot, Brandy and Beer.
YC
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
I'll need to wait to watch the vid as it's 51 minutes - but many thanks for posting. I notice that it's recorded not long before his death. I think it was Gene Lees - the best writer on jazz for my money - who wrote a very moving account of visiting Zoot when he was very near the end. I can't lay my hands on the book although it's around the flat somewhere - another good reason for having an iPad.

Not on this subject but while I'm reminded of Woody Allen: a bunch of jazzers were sitting around talking and the subject of Allen playing clarinet at Michael's Pub came up. George Coleman - wonderful tenor player and circular breather - was asked if he had ever heard Woody play. Coleman replied, "Yes - it's the only time he ever made me laugh." I've always loved that story.

Lastly, you can hear me on the CD "The Great American Songbook - Live at Michael's Pub" by Mel Torme, recorded in 1993.
 

Chris

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Does anyone know the years that Al Cohn was with Artie Shaw??

Chris..
 

Young Col

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2,419
Chris, according to my ever useful Rough Guide to Jazz, 49-50. Immediately after his spell with Herman's Four Brothers band.
YC
 

Chris

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Nice one YC, I was watching an Artie Shaw documentry, it said he became Artie's arranger but never said when, plus his soloing around then was really good..

Chris..
 
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