Re: Zoot Sims' setup???
I listen to Zoot quite a bit and have maybe a dozen or more LP record albums with him. I can't tell for sure, but from knowing it's a Selmer and from when he started playing, I'd guess the model as an early Balanced Action or perhaps back to the Radio Improved or Cigar Cutter (aka Super Sax) for his first recording horn. However, on one LP you can see the newer octave mechanism design with the S that came out in 1954. Mouthpiece seen is hard rubber. From the sound, I would guess it was fairly open. I recently went to a rubber Link 7 with my Mark VI, but used a Soloist C* exclusively for years - and got plenty of open jazz sound as well as honky rock'n'roll when needed. I think Jim's play test was with a metal 7* (see that posting elsewhere here). Let us know what you've tried now.
But even if you duplicated Sims' set-up exactly , you would sound like you - not Zoot. You can practice opening your throat up more and probably loosening your bottom lip some. But then you'd have to remember to tighten that embouchure for legit! A real nice 1960's Selmer Soloist D piece sold recently for about $125. You might want even more open than that - which is about a Link 6*, I think. Also Zoot seemed to push quite a bit of air. But nobody else sounds exactly like Sims do they?
One thing about Zoot Sims that I strive for is to try to attain his inate sense of rhythm (no matter what he was playing). Man that cat could swing. I guess he's my favorite tenor man, and has been for 40 years. But really, I have dozens of favorites - and they all sound somewhat different. And would even if they were using the same exact equipment as Zoot. Good Luck.