I remember sitting, with the saxophone section in the bend of the piano--Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Sam Marowitz and Stan Getz and Serge Chaloff when these guys would stand up to play, I would hear all this stuff coming out. When the section would play, I would hear Al Cohn. Now I didn't know him that well, but I could hear that sound coming out of the section, that soulful sound. Then when he'd stand up to play a solo, I noticed that he didn't play as slick as Stan Getz--I'm not knocking Stan Getz's playing--but he played so beautifully and soulfully, and so melodically that he made everybody else in the band--I could tell everybody in the band liked him better than anybody else. He was something else. I remember even Stan, with those cold, blue eyes of his, would look over and say, That's it!" Needless to say, Zoot loved him and [so did] all the guys."
--Pianist Lou Levy on Woody Herman's 1948 band, in Ira Gitler's From Swing to Bop: An Oral History of the Transition in Jazz in the 1940s.
This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.