Indigo Insights

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

This week I received a funny email from my friend, Don, about a musician named Zoot. I emailed Don and asked about Zoot. Honestly, I had never heard of him. But here's the genesis:

Hey Don -
Is Zoot a real musician that I haven't heard about - or a joke of the internet? Really, I don't know. I'd like to use this on my weblog, but don't want to post it not knowing the validity. If it's a joke - fine. I'll present it as such. But there are lots of REAL musicians out there who would spot my ignorance in a second if I gave it "joke" treatment and Zoot was, in fact, a real person. HEP ME!

Your questions are in the "musician" realm. Contact the Cc of this reply for further info. jbm was my high school band teacher and is my friend. He would love (let me speak for him now) to be a contributor to your BLOG. Just ask him.

Today I received the nicest email from a "sorta stranger" (altho any friend of Don, is a friend of mine - plus music-lovers bond quickly, as some of you know!) and here's what he said:


Zoot Sims, a very real person and jazz musician. He gained early prominence when he was playing with the Woody Herman Band, 1947-49, as one of the Four Brothers (Zoot Sims, Herbie Stewart, Stan Getz, Serge Chaloff). Three tenor saxes an a bary. It is now well known as the Four Brothers sound.

John Haley Sims was born in Inglewood, CA on 10/29/25. He has done a lot of free-lancing as well as playing with the bands of Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton. One of the premier stylists and improvisors.

This is more than you probably wanted to know.


Not at all, Bob! In fact, it's exactly what I wanted to know. I remember the music of Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Stan Kenton, and of course, the great Benny Goodman, but Zoot is new to me. I am ever so grateful for your kind response and now I can share this with Blog World. Thanks so much. -- BL

And so, fellow bloggers, here's the humor of Zoot:


Zoot was standing out in the alley back of a club between sets where he was playing when a bum came up and said, " I only need seventy-five cents more to buy a drink." Zoot reached in his pocket and gave him the money. After the bum walked away up the alley, Zoot ran after him, stopped him and said,"Wait a minute. How do I know you're not going to go around the corner and buy a bowl of soup?"

Zoot was rarely at a loss for words. When asked by a fan how he could play so well when he was loaded, he replied, "I practice when I'm loaded."

Early one evening Zoot had just finished a recording session and was joined by guitarist Jim Hall and his wife Jane. Zoot complained of his tiring schedule -- recording all day followed by an appearance at The Half Note that night. Jane mentioned that if Zoot wanted, she had a Dexedrine. "I don't think they're good for you, they're pretty strong. I usually open one up and pour some out." "Pour some out?" said Zoot. "Are you crazy? Don't you know there are people SLEEPING in Europe?"

On a tour of Europe with Chet Baker, Chet wanted Zoot to meet the son of Benito Mussolini, who happened to be Italy's best jazz artist. Chet prompted Zoot to please say something nice when being introduced to him. While shaking the hand of the infamous leader's son Zoot said, "Sorry to hear about your Dad."

Stan Getz, through much of his career, was known to be one of the more unpredictable personalities in the jazz world. Asked to describe his sometime rival, Zoot remarked, "Stan Getz is a nice bunch of people."

Zoot was drafted into the air force in World War II. The year was 1944. Having served in places like Huntsville, Alabama; Valdosta, Georgia and Biloxi, Mississippi, Zoot proudly affirmed that he fought in the famous Battle Of The South.

What A Guy...What A Musician!