1 January 2018

Pete Recommends…Zoot Sims & Joe Pass – Blues for Two

Each month Peter Batten recommends a recording that jazz fans may wish to add to their personal library.


Zoot Sims & Joe Pass

Blues For Two


    This year I began to weed out my collection and to limit my purchases. Anything new would have to make a very strong impression. That was the case with Tommy Flanagan’s wonderful album Thelonica, my recommendation for November.

    At Nicholas Scott’s “Enjoy Jazz” group some months ago I was introduced to this duo session, which I had missed. I had to have it. For me it represents the essence of what jazz is all about.

    I began to collect recordings of Zoot in the 1950s. Later I was able to hear him in person, partnered by Al Cohn: jazz at its very best. Apart from his supreme technique and imagination, Joe Pass is a perfect example of the ways in which jazz musicians have explored the possibilities of music and extended them. Almost 40 years ago I was host to a brilliant young classical guitarist from Greece who was in London to record some programmes for the BBC. He had recently heard Joe in concert in Athens. “That man played chords on the guitar which I did not know existed” Costas told me. Listen to Zoot’s superb reading of Irving Berlin’s simple but effective song, Remember. It reminded me that before he became a paid-up member of the Lester Young school of tenor playing he was very impressed by the work of Ben Webster.


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