The very complementary tenors Al Cohn and Zoot Sims (whose similar styles often made them sound almost identical) teamed up many times through the years; this reissue brings back their first joint recording. Joined by either Dave McKenna or Hank Jones on piano, bassist Milt Hinton, drummer Osie Johnson, and (on some selections) the forgotten trumpeter Dick Sherman, Al and Zoot avoid obvious material ("Somebody Loves Me" and "East of the Sun" are the only standards) in favor of swinging "modern" originals by Cohn, Sherman, Osie Johnson, Ralph Burns, Manny Albam, Ernie Wilkins, and Milty Gold. Zoot contributed "Tenor for Two Please, Jack," his answer to the song "Dinner for One Please, James." [Some releases add four alternate takes to the original 12-song program, giving one a good example of the occasional Cohn-Sims musical partnership.]
A professional musician at a very early age, Alain Caron is a considerably accomplished bass player. He attended the Berklee College of Music. One of his first excursions into jazz was playing with the Vic Vogel Big Band during the 1970s. In 1977 he co-founded the group UZEB. Their first album, Live in Bracknell, was released in 1981. The following year saw the group putting out Fast Emotion. The next album was 1984's You Be Easy. 1985 saw them release Between the Lines. Two more live albums, Live a l'Olympia and Absolutely Live came out in 1986. The group released Noisy Nights and Live in Europe in 1988. The following year saw the release of UZEB Club. World Tour '90 was released in 1990. In 1992, Caron formed his own group, le Band and released the first album by that group, Alain Caron – le Band.
The Misteri d'Elx (Mystery Play of Elche) is a religious drama performed annually in the southeastern Spanish city of Elche (or Elx in the local dialect) since medieval times. The play reenacts the Assumption of Mary in a two-act musical production, entirely sung, that takes place over two successive days in August. The Mystery Play is a major European tourist attraction, and UNESCO in 2001 named it a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. With typical boldness, Jordi Savall and La Capella Reial de Catalunya plunge into a slice of the musical past that is rewarding yet raises complex issues in performance. Here, however, the group is not resurrecting a half-buried tradition but rather dealing with one that is living.
Backed by some of the top bop players of the day, Al Cohn stretches out here for a program heavy with up-tempo swingers. Cut in two sessions during 1950 and 1953, Cohn's Tones finds the usually more mellow tenor great feeding off the driving drum work of both Tiny Kahn and Max Roach. Besides the ballad evergreen "How Long Has This Been Going On" and a bluesy "Ah-Moore," the eight-track set is all Cohn originals done in a Lester Young-on-the-West Coast style. Also featuring the talents of pianist Horace Silver, this early Cohn release is at once hot and cool, vigorous and lithe.