Do you remember that mellow sax solo on Phoebe Snow’s 1975 hit “Poetry Man”? That’s our birthday man John Haley “Zoot” Sims, born in Inglewood, California, on this day in 1925 (his solo kicks in around the 2:30 mark). After serving as an Army corporal during World War II, Zoot swung back into the music game, playing with Artie Shaw, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich and others, also joining Woody Herman’s big band for a spell. He got nicknamed Zoot upon joining Kenny Baker’s band as a 15-year-old sax man; according to lore, each music stand was embellished with a nonsense word, and his said “Zoot.” In this clip (at 3:46), Oscar Peterson introduces him as “the true personification of tenor sax.”