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Al Cohn/Zoot Sims: From A to Z and Beyond

Album Notes

This 1999 reissue contains four bonus tracks not included on the original release.

Personnel: Al Cohn, Zoot Sims (tenor saxophone); Dick Sherman (trumpet); Dave McKenna, Hank Jones (piano); Milt Hinton (bass); Osie Johnson (drums).

Recorded at Webster Hall, New York, New York on January 23-24, 1956.

All tracks have been digitally remastered.

Brothers in sound and twins of swing, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims command styles that blend together well. The great Lester Young, whose tone was light and airy and whose improvisational skills were marked by even, flowing melodic lines, influenced both saxophonists. Cohn and Sims employ similarly lyrical and mellifluous phrases on FROM A TO Z. But these two tenor players add elements of bebop to the signature swing-era riffs that made Young famous.

The influence of bebop can be heard on tunes such as the title track and "Sandy's Swing." The playing on these tracks is faster, with more surprises and a drier, more biting sound quality. In contrast, tracks such as "A New Moan" and "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)" are more firmly routed in swing. Drummer Osie Johnson rides on the hi-hat, creating a relaxed bounce, while trumpeter Dick Sherman soliloquizes over the top in a soft and delicate tone. A pleasant mix of swing and bebop, FROM A TO Z finds Cohn, Sims, and company rendering graceful and elegant versions of jazz compositions that are delightful but otherwise obscure.


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