Glenn Zottola “Come Fly With Me” review by Jazz Writer Nick Mondello
As portrayed in Chuck Granata’s fascinating “fly-in-the-studio” book, “Sessions with Sinatra – Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording” (A Cappella Books/Chicago Review Press, 2004) the Master would always enter the studio ready to record with a fervent desire to nail first takes. The orchestra, whether under the baton of Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, “Q,” et al, would have been rehearsed and collectively primed for the business at hand.
With “Come Fly with Me,” trumpeter Glenn Zottola takes a rather unique turnaround of the Sinatra session routine. He has brilliantly prepped and recorded over magnificent session material which was culled from the enormous vault of Irv Kratka’s Classic Jazz Records. The result is an exquisite display of musicianship, preparation and trumpeting chops of which OBE, who certainly knew his trumpet men (i.e., Conrad Gozzo, Charlie Turner, Harry James, and Count Basie’s Guys) would be proud.
The 10 well-known GASser selections (“Come Fly with Me,” “How High the Moon,” “Come Back to Me”) – most of them recorded at one time by Sinatra (but not Frank’s arrangements, in case you might ask) – feature Zottola’s lush horn blowing and swinging over terrific charts performed by top-tier New York studio types. Their skill, combined with Zottola’s marvelous lyrical playing (“People,” “Come Back to Me”) is enthralling and vividly reminiscent of a time when art emanated from soundstages. This effort certainly falls into that designation. One would not be off-base if a memory is jogged of those wonderful Jackie Gleason sides that featured Bobby Hackett spinning melodies from his Angelic-speaking cornet. Zottola is that good.
To prepare one’s self to record in any environment is a daunting task. However, a pre-recorded environment of this caliber? That takes chutzpah. Yet, Zottola, obviously savant-like – blends so seamlessly into the material that if I weren’t aware of the methodology, I would not have discerned it. You won’t, either.
Enjoy “Come Fly with Me.” This jet is under Glenn Zottola’s able command and Frank is seated in First Class. That’s him with headphones on. Gee, why is he smiling?