New Review Glenn Zottola In LA Jazz Scene By Scott Yanow

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Glenn Zottola
Miles Davis Remembered
(Classic Jazz)

Glenn Zottola had his greatest prominence in the jazz world in the 1970s and 80s when he appeared on many high-quality mainstream and swing sessions. An exciting trumpeter, he doubled on alto-sax during that era, working with Benny Goodman, Bob Wilber’s Bechet Legacy, Peanuts Hucko and his own combos,. His playing can be heard on recordings for such labels as Famous Door, Dreamstreet, Concord and Chiaroscuro. However Zottola’s career took a surprising turn when he became Suzanne Somers’ musical director, working on her television show away from the jazz scene. After that period, he largely retired from playing, just picking up his horns now and then for the fun of it.
During the past few years, Zottola’s life has taken another turn. He has returned to jazz, at least in the recording studios. In addition to a few previously unreleased sets of music being been released from his earlier years, he has also recorded 14 albums for the Classic Jazz label including tributes to Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Ben Webster and Clifford Brown. What is particularly unusual is that Zottola is heard playing to pre-recorded tracks, some of which of which were Music Minus One productions from the 1950s and ‘60s. While the backgrounds are set, Zottola’s playing is full of life and constant invention. While some of these sessions feature him on alto or tenor, his comeback on trumpet was quite notable on the Clifford Brown set.
Miles Davis Remembered has Zottola on trumpet interacting with an orchestra on some Gil Evans-inspired arrangements and playing with a classic combo that includes Stan Getz and guitarist Jimmy Raney. Zottola has always been proud of the fact that he never copies his heroes and predecessors. While he purposely hints at vintage Miles Davis’ relaxed style and cool sound throughout these ten performances, most of the songs (other than ‘Spring Is Here” and “My Funny Valentine”) are actually not from Davis’ repertoire. Many, including “This Heart Of Mine,” “Just You, Just Me” and “Sunday,” were never recorded by Davis. Zottola even includes two originals, “Jupiter” and “Beta Minus,” as orchestral pieces. His trumpet solos are both melodic and fresh.
Glenn Zottola’s comeback is to be cheered.
Scott Yanow

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