Years ago as a young lad coming up I had the chance to play my first gig with the great Zoot Sims almost 30 years my elder at the time along with the rest of the band being 50 years and I had to work hard to keep up ! Zoot came up with Stan Getz and they were both part of the famous Woody Herman “Four Brothers” sax section and the West Coast sound in Jazz that came out of Lester Young. Zoot unfortunately didn’t achieve the recognition of Stan at least with the general public but he was loved in the music world as a “musician’s, musician”. Milt Hinton a dear friend was on this gig and he told me Zoot was “the salt of the earth”. This was the first time we ever met and Teddy Wilson was on piano and the great Gus Johnson on drums but Teddy was late coming down from Boston due to weather, so Zoot and I started a blues without the piano. We had instant rapport when we found out we were both “ear players”. I loved to get in the head of the legends I admired and had a chance to play with – like Zoot and Benny Goodman and share their musical approach which is how I learned and this gig was worth 4 years of music school even if you could get this in school which you can’t. I am playing alto here and I remembered those incredible Al Cohn (another one) and Zoot records they did and what a honor it was to do some “trading” with Zoot. My alto almost started to take on a tenor quality as I got into Zoots head and his approach to music. There is something I would like to say to the aspiring student or anyone on this point. If you ever have the opportunity to be around greatness get into their head and “permeate” while being yourself and see what it feels like for a minute. If you remember Star Trek and the “Vulcan Mind Meld” you would be surprised what you can learn very quickly. My whole musical life has been like that ! Zoot passed not too long after this gig but you would never know it by his playing and I certainly miss him ! A bit later when someone was doing an article on me he said this about my playing which I cherish.
“Glenn has ‘big ears’ — he is a natural jazz musician.”
“I find him equally talented on both trumpet and alto.”
Here is another track or “barn burner” as we say . These guys lit a fire under me . Check out the interaction with Milt and Gus a real act in itself :