Oceanlight Records Interview, Part 6

OL: Welcome once again, Glenn. This being Part 6 of our 7 day Interview for OL’s Oceanliner Notes Weekly Series, Quote from Jazz Legend Bassist Milt Hinton: “Glenn Zottola – Top quality trumpet and saxophone. I’m pleased to add him to the list of musical giants I’ve played with. A great asset to the world of jazz.” -Milt “Judge” Hinton

OL: These shared thoughts and words from the great Milt Hinton; Glenn… must have a life-lasting effect, of which we are all too happy to highlight this… a true testament of your friendship and his utmost respect for your talents?

Glenn Zottola: A dear, dear friend. That warms my heart and I cherish that. Milton at the time was the most recorded bass player in history. He played with everybody. Miles, everybody that you could imagine, Billie Holiday, he played with everybody and he was a dear, dear friend. A fan and supporter and encourager. And I cherished what he said, there.

OL: Truly wonderful! You worked with, honored with a plaque. and celebrated Mr. Hinton’s 80th Birthday, at the Clearwater Jazz Festival, with an audience 10,000 people?

Glenn Zottola: Yeah, I had the whole audience sing happy birthday that night. I have a moving story. We went to the Sarasota Jazz Festival, and at that festival, I think it’s okay to tell this. I don’t think he’d mind. Ronald Reagan sent a letter to Milt, declaring Milt Hinton day in Jackson, Mississippi where he grew up. He came up to me and he had tears in his eyes literally, and he said you know you’re the only one that would really understand that. He said, “My Grandmother was a Slave, in Jackson and when they would let the dogs out, to chase runaway slaves. She would put pepper in our shoes. They would smell the pepper and go the other way.” He said “Because I play the bass, because of jazz. I play bass and music, It’s gone from that to Milt Hinton day in the same town.” He’s was crying, he said, “I wish my Grandma could see this,” and we hugged each other. It was a beautiful, beautiful program.

OL: We are sure, no doubt that her spirit was there with Milt…

Glenn Zottola: Absolutely. The point he was making. Because of music, he was able to achieve that. From being a kid, growing up in Jackson, to being a Jazz Star. Universal, Isn’t it? Louis Armstrong used to travel around the world. An ambassador in Africa. They didn’t speak the language, but the music spoke the language. You don’t need language with music.

OL: That’s right! Who are some of your contemporaries that You enjoy working with?

Glenn Zottola: Well, mostly, I don’t work with many contemporaries. The most contemporary guy would be Chick, really. I moved to Hollywood when I kind of left the jazz scene and went to join Suzanne Somers. I left all the guys that were in my click; which were people like Scott Hamilton, Ken Peplowski, Butch Miles and Howard Alden. Pretty much swing-oriented players… great players, but swing oriented. They weren’t really contemporary players… Warren Vache. So, Chick was in another world, because Chick is truly a contemporary player. When I came to L.A., I did work with some wonderful Musicians. I think I included for you, a track with a beautiful Bass Player. His name is Jim DeJulio, who I met with Sinatra. It was beautiful recording that I did with him, and he had Roy McCurdy on drums, who played with Cannonball Adderley. I would say that that session was more contemporary than the usual session, that I had with Swing Players.

OL: Well, we are excited about everyone hearing your wonderful tracks on this OL Interview and for sure on your Site.

Glenn Zottola: Thank you.

OL: Who are some of your contemporaries, or fellow Musicians, that You enjoy listening to and would love to work with?

Glenn Zottola: Well, I like Joshua Redman, on Tenor Saxophone. I think he’s a wonderful, wonderful player. I met him, because he was in Chick’s Band. And he’s a really cool guy. I like the guy that works for Chick a lot. He’s from England… Tim Garland. I’ve been in communication lately, with Wallace Roney, who was in Chick’s Band because he was a big Clifford fan. I was telling him about my ‘Clifford Brown’ Project. So, thank God, there’s a lot of really good players out there. Joe Lovano, I love him. He’s a wonderful player…Eddie Daniels. There’s a lot of really, really good players out there… even though I have my complaint. There’s a select few that I like, and I just feel that Jazz Education could be doing a better job. There’s a hand full that I love. There is more that could done with Jazz Education; that’s why I respect what Wynton Marsalis is doing at Lincoln Center, a lot. Exposing people to the history of Jazz; Louis Armstrong on up. It’s really, really important..he made that comment, “The difference between a Jazz Musician, and a Classical Musician, is that the Jazz Musician doesn’t respect the tradition of the music.” It’s a heavy statement, right? But, a lot of these guys in school, they start with John Coltrane; they move up from there. John Coltrane would be the first one to tell you, Jazz didn’t start with me. So, I respect what Wynton is doing. You never hear a Classical Musician saying, Oh, Bach and Mozart, yeah that’s old stuff. You never hear a Classical Musician call Bach or Mozart, old stuff. So, I think that needs to happen in the Jazz world… people have to go back and revisit these Legends. Everything that I can do and play, I owe it to the Legends, the Founding Fathers of Jazz.

OL: Right! Just as people are still studying still, how Beethoven wrote his Symphonies.

Glenn Zottola: Exactly. They’re re-discovering it. My Brother said something about Schubert re-discovering Bach. When you re-visit again, you find out about things that you didn’t even realize. So you go back to listen to Charlie Parker, or Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, or Roy Eldrige, or Clifford, or anybody. That’s the foundation. You’ve got to do that, you know; no matter what kind of music that you want to play.

OL: That’s a key word there, Glenn that you said, Foundation?

Glenn Zottola: Oh, absolutely.What was I reading, recently? Somebody really great. Basically, Miles. I heard an Interview with Miles, on TV. He was saying that it’s an evolutionary thing. They asked Miles, “Who do you like… what do you think about Louis Armstrong? He said, “Of Course, we all build from each other, forward.” Miles didn’t start the Trumpet, hello. He was asked, “How do you summarize Jazz?” He said, “In two names, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker.” He didn’t say, Jazz started with me. He innovated some things sure, but that’s not the point. So, that’s what I would like to see happen, and that’s what I’m trying to do with my Jazz Education Products. I would like to see a little more attention put on the Founding Fathers.

OL: This is a continuing goal, Glenn. We hope that we get closer and closer to that goal.

Glenn Zottola: Yes, trying to keep it pure.

OL: Just to name a few more from your 9 year stint, performing on the Suzanne Somers TV Show, we see that You’ve also worked with… Marilyn McCoo, Hector Elizondo, Ben Vereen, Nell Carter, and let’s not forget one of our favorites, Singer Patti Austin, who like You, Glenn, is so musically diverse, in various genre’s. Again, on your terrific site, You have a video clip of a nice swing version of, “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams,” with Suzanne and Patti doing a closing duet… and thanks in part, to your trumpet solo, this number really swings with that New Orleans Jazz Louie feel. Do You have an overall picture of how You want to perform your solo parts, depending on who the Guest Artist is?

Glenn Zottola: Well you know, first of all, I have to give Suzanne credit. She’s kind of like me, like a chameleon. You see her with Patti. Suzanne’s an Actress first, you know, and Patti a Singer. She seems to fit into any scenario, it’s unbelievable. I’ve got to give her credit, it’s the way she sounded on that tune. So, for me, I’m just always listening. Like I mentioned to you, how I love playing with Singers, right, and filling the holes and all of that. I’m always listening and getting my signals from the Singer, from the Stars that I’m working with… and then I do my best to contribute my message to that; rather than being on some weird ego trip. I always want to play in good taste.

OL: Everyone should see that video and hear all of the great work that You did on that show.

Glenn Zottola: Thank you. I mentioned this earlier, it was a pinnacle for me, I had a great time, I really did… and a lot of it had to do with Suzanne. She gave me carte blanche musically, to do whatever I wanted. I remember once, one of the Directors came up to me and he said, “Can’t you play some Rolling Stones?” I’m looking at him like, are you out in space, somewhere? It’s a Jazz Band, it doesn’t even have a guitar in it. So, I went to Suzanne, and I said, You know, so and so is bugging me about playing the Rolling Stones. Suzanne said, “Just stop, don’t worry about it.” She went to this guy, and she just really laid him down. I never heard anymore of him telling me what to play. She backed me up 100% on that show.

OL: Switching gears & mouthpieces…It’s great Glenn, that Musician Trumpeters, can get a wonderful endorsed product of yours, through your association RS Berkeley Musical Instruments Co. They have released a copy of your trumpet mouthpiece, called the “Glenn Zottola Trumpet Mouthpiece” as part of their Legend Series; of which it is now available at select retailers around the world?

Glenn Zottola: Yes, I’m so excited, it’s a real tribute to my Dad… Master Mouthpiece maker. This Company, R.S. Berkley, is a great Company. They make wonderful Saxophones, and they started this Legends Mouthpiece Series. They did a tribute to Stan Getz. I’m friends with Stan’s Daughter. They got Stan’s mouthpiece from Stan Getz’s Daughter. They put out a Stan Getz model. They put out a Charlie Parker model, for the Alto. They have Louis Armstrong, Woody Shaw, and Dizzy Gillespie. I was really honored when he asked me to do my mouthpiece. In 1979, I went to my Dad. I was getting very busy, in the professional scene, doing a lot of varied work. I had my Dad take one of the mouthpieces that he made. I played with my Dad’s mouthpiece my whole life, but I had to make some very minor alterations to fit the bill for me; for all of the different styles that I had to play. So, that’s the mouthpiece that I played with, my whole Career. It’s a one of a kind. You really can’t get it. So I’m thrilled that I was able to get that duplicated, so others could have it. That Company is R.S. Berkley in New Jersey. Beautiful guy, his name is Les Silver; who runs the Company. He’s a Saxophone Player, and he’s a really sweet guy. He has a tremendous love for Musicians.

OL: Anyone can purchase the Glenn Zottola mouthpiece at R.S. Berkley?

Glenn Zottola: Yes, that’s correct.

OL: How do You feel about Social Media, as it relates to your Career, now… and what would You say, Glenn, would be the advantages, if used responsibly?

Glenn Zottola: As you know, Social Media, you can’t deny it. It is what’s happening. Even major Celebrities are on Twitter. So, I’m trying to learn more, and more about it. I’m on Facebook, I’m on Linked In, I’m on Twitter, and I have a Website. I’m trying to learn more and more about it, because through media like YouTube, it is a way to reach a lot of people. I already have reached a lot of people, and I’m thrilled about that… but I do want to expand it, because whether you like it or not, it is the future. I mean there are some things that I don’t like about it, for sure. I feel that it can get impersonal, but you can’t deny the power that the internet and social media has.

OL: Yes, that’s right Glenn… If it’s used in a really positive and responsible way, like you said, it’s a very powerful tool?

Glenn Zottola: Absoulutely. I mean it’s part of the world that’s changed, for sure. You saw the role Facebook played during the revolution in Egypt. It’s unbelievable that social media would have caused a revolution. It’s powerful stuff, and also a word of warning as we all know, it can be dangerous too. Like anything that is powerful, it can be used for good, or bad.

OL: We look forward tomorrow in Part 7 of this 7 part Oceanliner Notes Weekly Series, as we take a tour on the best of Glenn Zottola’s Broadway Gigs, his recordings and works with Saxophonist Great Zoot Sims and famed Talk Show Host / Musician Steve Allen… and then wrapping things up, finding out about what’s next for Jazz Trumpeter/Saxophonist Musician Great Glenn Zottola…

OL: Glenn, is there any music commentary you’d like to share with the OL viewers, as we conclude this Interview 6 of 7 segment?

Glenn Zottola: So yeah, I would like to up my presence, now that I have all of these Products out there. I’ve got a Website, and I have Interviews, including this one. I would like to get a wider reach. I’m not on Television every night, right now… so a good way to do that, would probably be through Social Media.

OL: Thank you Glenn. We’ll see you tomorrow! And thank you all for visiting OL’s Oceanliner Notes Weekly!

Continue to Part 7 →

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