The band's fifth album features 11 tracks. Kicking off with the infectious single 'Solid Gold', followed by the introspective 'Ordinary Face', regret fuelled 'I Said It Again' and 60's soul inspired 'Haunt Me'. Adding to the arsenal of synth-pop, a contribution from Kylie Minogue who features on the epic ballad 'Still Feels Like The First Time'. The resulting sound contains some of the most uplifting pop melodies they've ever delivered, proving them to be genre-defying artists for the 21st century.
Like fellow Aussies the Sherbs, Zoot never escaped teen-star status. But as Zoot Locker proves, they were certainly adapt at churning out clever pop tracks. Because of their time period, Zoot used every trick in the psychedelic book; but most songs maintain the three-minute mark, resulting in shrewd and skewered singles much like the Move delivered. Innocent innocuousness such as "Monty & Me" about walking the dog or "One Times Two Times Three Times Four" seems unfairly buried in the past. Of course, Beatles nods abound, such as the Lennon-isms of "Hey Pinky." With this smoking version of "Eleanor Rigby" the quartet attempted to jettison their early "pink" image, jumping aboard the bizarre "heavy covers" bandwagon with Vanilla Fudge and Rare Earth. The Hollies are another pervasive influence ("Flying" shares rhyme schemes with "Dear Eloise" over a "Helter Skelter" riff) while "Mr Songwriter" echoes the Byrds by way of Dylan. "Freak" foreshadows "Highway Star" and many Sweet moments.
The slightly unusual date Two Jims and a Zoot features tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims interacting with two guitarists (Jimmy Raney and Jim Hall) while given subtle support by bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Osie Johnson. Although the eight selections (none of which caught on as standards) had all been written recently and sometimes display the influence of bossa nova, the quiet performances could pass for 1954 rather than 1964. The cool-toned improvisations and boppish playing have a timeless quality about them although for the time period aspects of this music already sounded a bit old-fashioned.
Live at Falcon Lair has a more interesting back story than many older recordings that have been rescued for posterity, but even the story takes a backseat to the excellent music. Falcon Lair wasn't a club, but the home of Doris Duke (and once the home of Rudolph Valentino), whom pianist Joe Castro married in 1956. Castro developed his musical rep playing around L.A., sometimes in the company of bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Ron Jefferson.
Simple and elegant genius from Zoot Sims – an overlooked quartet session recorded with George Handy on piano, Wilbur Ware on bass, and Osie Johnson on drums. Handy was the famous arranger for the Boyd Rayburn group in the 40s, and here he arranges the whole set – and also contributes a number of original tunes – making for a very fresh session that gets Zoot far past the usual bag of well-worn standards. And with Ware on bass, there's an extra depth to the set in the rhythm department that opens things up nicely – not dramatically, but enough to allow for some more emphatic playing on the part of Sims!
A rare gem from Zoot Sims – very different than any of his other albums! The session features Zoot blowing over large backings arranged and conducted by Gary McFarland, a bit in the older Verve "with strings" mode, but also sparkling with a lot of the newer elements that McFarland was bringing to his work at the time. The approach is both light and lush at the same time – and Zoot's got a tone and approach that we've never heard on any other record, making the whole album an incredible treat that we'd rank up there with Stan Getz's experiments of the same type from the 60s. Titles include "I Wish I Knew", "Does The Sun Really Shine On The Moon", "Once We Loved", "Old Folks", "September Song", "Stella By Starlight", and "Once I Could Have Loved".
This powerful four disc anthology is a wonderful illustration of the genius that was the late, great Frank Zappa in performance and broadcasting live to air. Zappa always defies categorisation. He blended humor, satire, virtuoso guitar, challenging lyrics, bawdy tales, brilliant compositions, and inspired improvisation and somehow managed to make those diverse elements work together in a unique, musical form which defies categorisation, and is known to posterity by the term "Zappa".
The very complementary tenors Al Cohn and Zoot Sims (whose similar styles often made them sound almost identical) teamed up many times through the years; this reissue brings back their first joint recording. Joined by either Dave McKenna or Hank Jones on piano, bassist Milt Hinton, drummer Osie Johnson, and (on some selections) the forgotten trumpeter Dick Sherman, Al and Zoot avoid obvious material ("Somebody Loves Me" and "East of the Sun" are the only standards) in favor of swinging "modern" originals by Cohn, Sherman, Osie Johnson, Ralph Burns, Manny Albam, Ernie Wilkins, and Milty Gold. Zoot contributed "Tenor for Two Please, Jack," his answer to the song "Dinner for One Please, James." [Some releases add four alternate takes to the original 12-song program, giving one a good example of the occasional Cohn-Sims musical partnership.]