You're in for a huge treat, but you don't know it yet. Back in the 10-inch LP days, on February 14, 1955, tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims was in Los Angeles cutting a four-track session for Jump Records, a Hollywood label founded by Clive Acker and Ed Kocher in 1944 just after the first AFM recording ban was settled. The leader of the Jump date was Hall Daniels, a top studio arranger who went on to score the Beach Party movies and space age pop for Les Baxter.
Back in the mid-'50s, at the height of the East Coast v. West Coast rivalry, Acker trawled Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, an active music strip in the burgeoning San Fernando Valley, looking for talent. He knew nearly everyone on the scene, especially the musicians who were playing in the TV studios. [Pictured: Dick Nash]
When Acker convinced Daniels to record, Daniels reached out to form an octet with other TV players. These musicians included Sims, Daniels on trumpet, the superb studio trombonist Dick Nash, baritone saxophonist Bob Gordon, pianist Paul Atkerson, guitarist Tony Rizzi, bassist Rollie Bundock and drummer Jack Sperling. Each was playing on TV shows hosted at the time by Bob Crosby, Dinah Shore and Tennessee Ernie Ford. This was Jump's first West Coast jazz album—and likely its best. [Pictured: The reissue on Zim Records in 1977, with a shift to Sims and Nash and away from the virtually unknown Daniels]
The four tracks recorded that day at Hollywood's Radio Recorders Studio were The Way You Look Tonight, Nash-ville, You Don't Know What Love Is and Compatibility. Nash-ville and Compatibility were Daniels originals. And all four were brilliantly arranged by Daniels in typical West Coast linear fashion, with harmonies sliding back and forth behind smooth solos. [Pictured: Bob Gordon and Zoot Sims at the session]
Fortunately, Acker called for multiple alternate takes that day—either to allow for run downs of the tracks or extra tape from which he could splice together choice solos. I say "fortunately" because all of the complete takes were issued. So if you love The Way You Look Tonight, as I do, you'll be wallowing in it—there are three in all. [Pictured: Dick Nash and Tony Rizzi at the session]
Now here's the big news: While this rare recording has been out of print for some time and can't be found at Amazon or eBay, I came across it hidden at iTunes. It's under Zoot Sims' name, and it's listed incorrectly as Nashville—as though Sims had recorded a country album in California in 1955. Oh, one more thing: It's only $5.99.
JazzWax tracks: As I mention above, you'll find Nash-ville at iTunes under Zoot Sims' name. It's listed as Nashville. This is one of the great West Coast jazz sessions, with Sims out front.
JazzWax note: A special thanks to Héctor Balbis and David Langner.