Zoot Sims: With Bucky Pizzarelli (2009)
This Zoot Sims-Bucky Pizzarelli set of duets is now 33 years old but there's nary a sign of cobwebs here on a session in which the mutual pleasure of these two pros is happily apparent. If it contained only their bossa-flavored take on Michel Legrand's "Watch What Happens," it would be well worth the price. As it begins, just a deft sprinkling of Pizzarelli's notes opens a path through which flows a generous outpouring of Sims' shimmering warmth. But before we get to that gem, a breathless joint response to Cole Porter's magnificently obsessive question, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" opens the set. Even as he is consistently intensely melodic, Sims injects sprightly bursts and toots over his always ravishing tone.
Sims was a veteran of big bands during and after World War II, touring with bands including Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Stan Kenton and playing in smaller groups including with Gerry Mulligan. On this session, a gentler tone is evident in Sims' playing, which seems especially syntonic on the Legrand tune. Pizzarelli's seven-stringer serves as a delicately muscular complement, almost as a mirroring echo supporting Sims' rhythmic strength. That same mutual delight is palpable on "Mynah Blues," with a series of exchanges which are at once unhurried and endlessly inventive. The set ends with a chairs-on-the-tables-intimate barroom closer, "Willow Weep For Me," melodically mellow to the max.
Track Listing: What Is This Thing Called Love?; Tooz Blues; Not So Deep; Take Ten; Mynah Blooze; Watch What Happens; There Will Never Be Another You; Willow Weep For Me.
Personnel: Zoot Sims: tenor saxophone; Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar.
Record Label: Classic Jazz Records
Style: Big Band