Jazz Birthdays: Neal Hefti (1922) and Zoot Sims (1925)

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Neal Hefti was a composer, arranger, and trumpeter. His most famous composition is the blues theme to the tv series Batman. In jazz circles, he is known for his big band work, especially for Count Basie, such songs as “Splanky”, “Cute”, “Little Pony”, and “Li’l Darlin’”.

Zoot Sims was an important and always swinging tenor saxophonist in the Lester Young tradition who also incorporated elements from the Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster side. There is a long and informative profile that provides an excellent description of his playing and also talks about the “Four Brothers” Woody Herman band. Zoot says “I never had any lessons. I learned by listening to Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge [trumpet] and Ben Webster, and later to Lester Young and Don Byas.” Here’s “You Go To My Head”, “Stompin’ at the Savoy”, a club set, and an interview.

5:08 am on October 29, 2012