Reviews

“Glenn has ‘big ears’ — he is a natural jazz musician.”
—Zoot Sims

“He shows a pleasing mixture of Braff warmth and Hackett serenity.”
—Jazz Times

“Glenn Zottola on trumpet… building solos with an elegancy and deliberation that reflect Louis Armstrong.”
—John S. Wilson, NY Times

“Trumpeter Glenn Zottola has blended diverse antecedents — among them, Eldridge and Gillespie — on a foundation hewn of pure Armstrong. The result, heraldic of tone and impeccable of execution, an urgent and intensely personal style.”
—Richard Sudhalter, NY Post

“Glenn Zottola’s albums have given my listeners refreshing, enjoyable and lasting music. His ability to excel on sax and trumpet is an inspiration at any age.”
—Rick Petrone, Program Director, WYRS

“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

“Glenn Zottola is a swinging, driving, always melodic player!”
—Butch Miles

“I find him equally talented on both trumpet and alto.”
—Zoot Sims

“Zottola has great warmth with the trumpet and saxophone.”
—Chick Corea

“Trumpeter Glenn Zottola is one of the few horn players today who takes his inspiration from Louis Armstrong.”
—Stereo Review

“A very talented player and all around excellent musician. I love hearing his records on radio!”
—Gerry Milligan

“Zottola is great and very inventive with a lovely, big open tone, and a most delicate way with the mutes.”
—Sinclair Trail, Jazz Journal

“Like Benny Carter and Ira Sullivan before him, Zottola developed independent, appealing and natural-solo identities on both instruments.”
—Richard Sudhalter, NY Post

“Glenn Zottola is an excellent musician. Excellent, just excellent!”
—Teddy Wilson

“Glenn does both so well — I love the alto!”
—Buddy Tate

“… a rare and brilliant and extremely flexible young trumpeter. His careful and yet carefree blowing evoke bits of Louis Armstrong. Bix Biederbecke, Bunny Berigan and even Roy Eldridge all molded into a style that becomes strictly his own.”
—George T. Simon, NY Post

“Glenn Zottola — a bright new trumpet find.”
—Billboard Magazine

 

George Shippey – Some of the best trumpet playing I have heard since the passing of Miles Davis.

 

CJ 6 Clifford Brown Remembered

 

First Review : “All About Jazz” :

Glenn Zottola: Clifford Brown Remembered (2014)

By NICHOLAS F. MONDELLO, Published: May 6, 2014 | 1,040 views
Glenn Zottola: Clifford Brown Remembered The trumpet is a cruel—yet loving—mistress. It can announce the slightest executional blemish, instantly betraying its player’s most sincere efforts, while also allowing its lover to express every possible nuance and emotion. The greatest Masters of the instrument in jazz—Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Chet Baker and others—all could brilliantly deliver expressive emotion. Of those in the trumpet’s pantheon, Clifford Brown, by virtue of his genius and enhanced by his mythology, stands out. Any attempt by a trumpeter to emulate Clifford would have all the risk of a tightrope walk across Niagara Falls.

With Clifford Brown Remembered, trumpeter Glenn Zottola takes up the Herculean task of playing tribute to Brownie in the most extraordinary manner. He’s taken the classic Clifford Brown with Strings recording (EmArcy, 1955) and, deploying his own formidable talents, recreated the recording in a musical salute. And, he’s done it marvelously.

The dozen selections (with an added cover of Dinah Washington’s recording of Benny Golson’s, threnody, “I Remember Clifford”)—were originally drawn primarily from the GAS (“Yesterdays,” “Embraceable You,””Stardust”) and are performed here in the same sequence as the 1955 recording. Zottola, well-respected as a mainstream and swing performer, interprets the Brown ballad performances with reverence and interpretive artistry. His lush sound is warm and inviting, and nearly as resonant as his idol’s. He possesses a fine vocalist’s sense of phrasing and lyric savvy. While there may be understandable comparisons to the original, Zottola’s ease of playing, technical and articulation skills, and superlative dynamic control make this recording shine.

Incredibly, in this recording, Zottola re-creates the legendary session performing it completely from memory, interpreting Clifford’s playing by ear. The original string charts (by Neal Hefti) were transcribed by Mark Stallings and are superbly performed. Given that the original recording was done in 1955, the music’s beauty withstands time’s test and glows yet again.

Rarely does a performer rise to a level of excellence as that of the artist that he or she salutes. Zottola certainly comes close. Be that so, while Clifford Brown remains to this day, nearly 60 years after his tragic death, an influential voice in jazz trumpet, the adulation that is performed here is indeed apropos. Glenn Zottola portrays himself not only an adoring acolyte, but a superlative and sensitive trumpet artist in his own right. And, just as Brownie did, Zottola certainly speaks.

Track Listing: Yesterdays, Laura, What’s New?, Blue Moon, Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man of Mine,Embraceable You, Willow Weep for Me, Memories of You, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Portrait of Jenny, Where or When, Stardust, I Remember Clifford.

Personnel: Glenn Zottola: trumpet.

Record Label: Classic Jazz Records

 

 

Review from :  Jazz Weekly

GOTTA LOVE THIS OVERLOOKED GUY…Glenn Zottola: Clifford Brown Remembered, A Jazz Life-Glenn Zottola’s Story
by George W. Harris • June 26, 2014 • 0 Comments
One of the things I love about jazz is that there’s always some artist that you’ve heard as a sideman, but never realized how great he was until someone draws your attention to him. Here’s a classic case: trumpeter Glenn Zottola is the perfect guy for the song “I Wanna Be A Sideman,” as he’s played with EVERYONE from Benny Goodman to Dave Liebman to Milto Hinton and Zoot Sims. These two releases will make you appreciate this overlooked guy.
The first one is a tribute to the iconic Clifford Brown with Strings album from 1955. The original arrangements by Neal Hefti are still intact, and Zottola handles pieces like “Blue Moon” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” with grace and style. He doesn’t have the restrained bravura as Brown, but makes up for it in a gentle lyricism. Delightful.
The two disc Glenn Zottola’s Story spotlights the diversity of this trumpeter. One minute he’s blasting away on a swinging “Life Goes to a Party” with Benny Goodman’s Orchestra, and then he slips into a hip little bebopper on “Dewey Square” with Roy McCurdy without missing a beat. Trad pieces such as “China Boy” have him with Bob Wilbur while Maxine Sullivan is featured on “Killing Time.” He backed Peggy Lee on “I Got To Wear You Off of My Mind” and he holds his own with Zoot Sims, Milt Hinton and Gus Johnson on “Zoot and Glenn Blues.” You’re gonna love this guy; he’s got the heart of a lion!
Classic Jazz Records
http://www.glennzottola.com

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Charlie Parker Tribute Reviews 

CJ 7 Reflections Charlie Parker

 

First Review : “All About Jazz” :

Glenn Zottola: Reflections Of Charlie Parker

By GEANNINE REID, Published: May 10, 2014 | 2,423 views
Glenn Zottola: Glenn Zottola: Reflections of Charlie Parker After nearly four decades Glenn Zottola has become one of the most respected, versatile and in-demand trumpet players—and saxophonists—in the world. Born and raised in Port Chester, New York, Zottola started playing trumpet at age three. By virtue of his musical household, this seemed almost as natural as learning to speak. His big brother, Bob, was also a gifted trumpeter who went on to play with the bands of Charlie Barnet and Maynard Ferguson. His mother, Marie, played piano, and his sister was a gifted singer. However, Zottola credits his father Frank as his primary influence and teacher. “He was a great trumpet player in the Louis Armstrong and Conrad Gozzo style,” says Glenn. “As a child, he was taught by a music professor in the strict style of La Scala, Milan, and he was required to study theory, harmony and solfeggio before he was allowed to even touch the trumpet.” “Dad also has an impeccable hand at writing music notation, and music publishers used his manuscripts to make their printing plates.” When the score for Stravinsky’s Petrouchka was smuggled into the U.S., it was Frank who prepared the autograph, or printer’s manuscript. The multitalented Frank Zottola eventually became a maker of world class trumpet mouthpieces.

Zottola’s playing on both the trumpet and saxophones have a strong affinity for the swing-era sensibility with bebop’s complex harmonic concepts. “I came home from school and heard Bob [Glenn’s brother] playing a record by [bebop trumpeter] Clifford Brown and I knew my life would never be the same!” At 17, Zottola’s first ‘road gig’ was as a trumpeter with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, under the direction of clarinetist Buddy DeFranco. “That job really gave me my first taste of real life, of what it was like to be a working musician, traveling on the bus and playing one-nighters. And it was inspiring to hear Buddy play clarinet every night.” From the Miller band, he joined Lionel Hampton’s big band, and then spent the next few years backing a string of big name stars like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Patti Page and Mel Torme.

In 1977, Zottola moved to New York and quickly became an in demand freelancer and pit-orchestra musician. Zottola also founded a production company that employed 70 musicians at its peak. “Financially, it was a very successful venture,” states Glenn. “I was booking more than 300 gigs per year, including six nights a week with my own big band at the Rainbow Room in New York.” But the success had its downside. “I was working 60 hours a week. I didn’t even have time to buy a reed for my saxophone.” Sensing career burnout approaching, Zottola sought counseling from Scientology, the religious philosophy to which he subscribes and attributes much of his success.

Zottola soon found himself leading his own groups (including his own big band), recording 30 albums both as a leader and with many jazz legends, and touring nationally and internationally with all-star groups. The list of musicians he has played or recorded with reads like a who’s who of jazz: Gerry Mulligan, Chick Corea, Milt Hinton, Bob Wilber, Count Basie,Ella Fitzgerald, Zoot Sims, Joe Williams, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett—and the list goes on.

The fact that Zottola is a world-class trumpet player and an equal talent on the saxophone is very unusual and adds to Zottola’s value and versatility as a performer. “When I was about 13,” explains Zottola, “I found an old alto lying around the house, and I began fooling with it.” With no formal training, it wasn’t long before Zottola started feeling almost as at-home on the saxophone as on the trumpet. Aside from the obvious disparities, such as fingering and embouchure, Zottola notes that the main difference between the two lies in the mood each instrument can capture. “There are certain emotions I can express better on the sax than on the trumpet. The trumpet has a beautiful, majestic sound, but on something like a ballad, I might want that romantic, gentle, sensual feeling that I can get more easily on the saxophone. It requires a different frame of mind.” A typical Zottola CD presents the listener with a mixture of jazz styles. One track might find Zottola on muted trumpet emulating the moody hues of Miles Davis, while the next track he plays the alto saxophone à la Charlie Parker. “I’m proud of my versatility,” says Zottola. “It’s very much a part of who I am musically.” Versatility, however, is considered a marketing challenge by many record producers and concert promoters. “They tell me, ‘Man, if you played just trumpet or just saxophone, one or the other, it would be a lot easier to market you.’ But what am I supposed to do—give up something I love in order to sell more records? That’s just not going to happen.”

Today, Zottola is as hard to classify as ever. He continues to lead his own band, a “little big band” that comprises six horns and a rhythm section. The band performs its blend of styles regularly at international festivals and at gigs stateside, with the leader playing trumpet and saxophone. Zottola moved to Los Angeles to become the band leader on the Suzanne Somers TV show out of universal studios.

Zottola hasn’t recorded as a leader in a number of years, but true to his individuality and self-determination, Zottola has returned to recording with a new approach for his CD project, adding a different twist. “I feel I’m ready to enter another stage of my career. I tried to do something a little more ambitious, with an orchestra, including strings and full horn section.” Zottola’s Reflections of Charlie Parker is the result of that goal and this tribute does a fine job of capturing the essence of Charlie Parker’s feeling in the music (mainly in the style of the 1949 recording, Charlie Parker with Strings, on the Clef label). Zottola creates an intimate setting with arrangements that will give the listener another angle of exploration of these well love selections.

Five of the ten standards on Reflections of Charlie Parker are orchestrated with a full string and horn section in lush, lyrical, graceful arrangements and are the perfect backdrop to Zottola’s creative bop disciplined blowing. Bird recorded his project with a full string section and an oboe, Zottola has a full horn section and a full string section, yielding a fresh full sound. A live recording at the Apollo Theater, New York City in 1951 of Bird covering “What Is This Thing Called Love?” with a string and horn backing and Bird also recorded “I’m In The Mood For Love” in the studio with strings. Both of these tracks are on Reflections of Charlie Parker and listening to Bird’s approach to playing the songs and then Zottola’s version, one can really hear that Zottola has captured the inner essence of the feeling that Parker was able to create, which is not an easy accomplishment! The intimate nature of the setting allows Zottola to express a romantic sensibility and fresh perspective, while still maintaining a sophisticated bebop approach to the American Popular Songbook.

On “Moonlight in Vermont,” Zottola’s warm alto captures the spirit of Bird’s unique rhythmic and harmonic lines without cliché imitation or ‘licks.’ Zottola’s playing is full of fresh angles to the bebop language; lagging slightly behind the beat for some phrases, high accented notes are derived from the melody with complex melodic lines underneath, a rhythmic feeling that falls into double time and a high use of chromatic embellishments all without ever losing the sense of swing and melodic continuity. The orchestration is full and supportive of Zottola’s melodic explorations through the harmonies while the backing lines have multiple layers and counterpoints; they never distract the listener from Zottola. Zottola explains, “This album is not a re-creation of anything Charlie Parker did which would be pretentious and silly on my part. Bob Wilber once told me Charlie Parker was the last great swing player and true enough if you listen to his early recordings with Jay McShann, you will hear he is straight out of the Lester Young school. I did many festivals with Jay and spoke to him about Charlie Parker who was in his teens when he played in Jay’s band. Actually there is a Charlie Parker solo where he quotes the entire intro to Louis Armstrong’s ground breaking “West End Blues” from the 1920s, so his roots go back for sure and Charlie Parker was one of the great improvisers of the 20th century along with Louis Armstrong in my opinion. What I would like to pay tribute to is how he “culled together” everything before him, making it work in whatever setting he was in, putting a glorious final stamp on what was the Golden Age of Jazz that started with Louis Armstrong in the 1920s and ended with Parker in 1950 which was the great Renaissance in Jazz that sadly America has still not acknowledged. Most important to me is “Bird’s” aesthetic and beauty in everything he played whether it was fast or slow and that comes from the soul which is so evident in his string album. Just listen to his ground breaking intro on “Just Friends” on his string album, total aesthetic beauty.”

Reflections of Charlie Parker is not just slow ballads, Zottola has wisely placed a few mid-tempo swingers in to add tempo variety; “Oh, Lady Be Good!,” “I May Be Wrong,” “What is This Thing Called Love” and “Three Little Words” and he has also chosen to scale down the ensemble to just a quintet. “Oh, Lady Be Good!,” “Embraceable You,” “I May Be Wrong” and “Three Little Words” are presented in a quintet format with Don Abney on piano, Jimmy Raney on guitar, Oscar Pettiford on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums. “What is This Thing Called Love” has Nat Peirce on piano, Barry Galbraith on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass and Osie Johnson on drums. “What is This Thing Called Love” has a wonderful chorus of Zottola and Hinton trading fours and Raney’s guitar solo on “Three Little Words” is a treat to hear (ending the CD on a mid-up tempo swinger). Zottola’s soloing on each track is deeply steeped in the bebop tradition, but highly melodic and always swinging. Zottola speaks further about his thoughts about Parker, “Also, Charlie Parker in many ways took Jazz from the dance hall to the concert hall. The two major influences for me in creating my own jazz style was Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker, the alpha and omega in jazz in my opinion. Miles Davis summarized jazz in two names Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. If you just listen and get the concept of how Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker approached music as improvisers in a ‘general sense’ it will organically seep into your own style and that is all I did. Basically with this tribute I just wanted to acknowledge Charlie Parker in my own way for pointing the way for all of us.” Reflections of Charlie Parker is highly recommended, you won’t be disappointed on this one!

Track Listing: Moonlight in Vermont; Oh Lady Be Good!; It Might As Well Be Spring; In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning; What Is This Thing Called Love?; I’m In The Mood For Love; Embraceable You; Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful!); Three Little Words.

Personnel: Glenn Zottola: trumpet, saxophones; Don Abney: piano; Jimmy Raney: guitar; Oscar Pettiford: bass; Kenny Clarke: drums; Nat Pierce: piano; Barry Galbraith: guitar; Milt Hinton: bass; Osie Johnson: drums.

Record Label: Classic Jazz Records

 

 

I love this Tribute. Glenn captures the essence of Charlie Parker’s music here. The feeling is warm and nurturing. You are experiencing true musical beauty of the highest order. Close your eyes and listen as he takes you on a magical journey of the senses. Experience Glenn Zottola’s intimate impression of the musical father of American modern Jazz. The transcriptions offer a documentation in written form that will give the listeners and musicians an added avenue for exploration. This is an incredible opportunity for the avid jazz aficionado. Thank you Maestro Zottola! Bravo

  1.  I find Glenn Zottola’s expressive quality outstanding among the brilliant. A truly masterful interpretation of beloved Charlie Parker classics, respectful yet still fresh and new. Already a favourite in my home. I got to hear ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’, as if for the first time, and fell in love with it again. Thank you!
  2. I’ve listened to most of what Glenn has played over the years. He’s always had a pure and beautiful tone on both trumpet and sax and an ability to express the essence of a song with truth and soulfulness. And here as well but with an even more silkiness to the sound and approach, a’la Bird! As a vocalist, vocal teacher and radio show host I will play this and recommend to my students, listeners and friends. Great job, amazing playing Glenn. Thank you!
  3. Glenn Zottola is one of the finest musicians on the scene today. His tone and phrasing along with his swinging lines speak for themselves . Playing along with these beautiful and lush orchestrations will inspire all to play at a high level. Always steal from the best!!! Listen to Glenn’s lines and make some your own . Great Job Glenn .
  4. Having listened to Glenn Zottola’s wonderful take on these great tunes – tone, feel, sensitive and lyrical yet incredibly inventive playing – I can only say that anyone looking for a wonderful role model to learn from and listen to should look no more!
  5. My review of Glenn Zottola’s MMO albums.I Got Rhythm, Too Marvelous For Words and a sneak peek at Tribute to Charlie ParkerThe two tenor saxophone albums I Got Rhythm and Too Marvelous For Words should be in the collection of all aspiring jazz saxophonists for with these you will have, in my opinion, a serious study tool for acquiring your own style.Glenn has somehow magically assimilated the best of the best without any formal or academic analysis but rather by intense admiration and a tremendous amount of what I like to refer to as the “old school sink or swim method” of acquiring mastery.What I’m saying is whether Glenn is playing “in the style of” Louis Armstrong (on trumpet, of course) Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins or Charlie Parker,  it’s not just an “impression” and never a “forgery” but rather a respectful creation “after” the admired earlier master.As brothers we have always exchanged ideas including “sneak previews” of our recordings as I was to Glenn’s soon to be released Tribute to Charlie Parker.I’ll single out one track only because it was inspired by one of Bird’s most beautiful solos and that is Embraceable You. Here Glenn captures the essence of Bird’s unique rhythmical and harmonic melodic lines without ever quoting him!This is nothing new in the art world for all the masters had their idols whom they would always credit with being their great inspiration. So, when in this rapturous state of admiration they would paint a picture (many times in a museum) and although it was based on the masterpiece, it was not a copy and usually signed “After Rembrandt” or “After Leonardo”What you have with Glenn’s albums is not just a fine player laying down the melody and then blowing a couple of “hot choruses” but a thoughtful, dare I say, soulful presentation that smacks of an authentic jazz club performance in the Big Apple during the Hay Day of Jazz!Bottom line, this is something for the aspiring jazz player to not only gain inspiration but as a bonus get to “interact” with some of the finest rhythm tracks ever recorded!Bob Zottola March 19, 2013

CJ 11 Bossa Nova Story

 

Bechet_Legacy_CJ4-1

THE BECHET LEGACY – BIRCH HALL CONCERTS LIVE

Quick Overview

The Bechet Legacy, a group that specialized in the music of Sidney Bechet, was one of the highpoints in the careers of both Bob Wilber and Glenn Zottola. The previously unreleased music on this two-CD set from 1981-82 was the peak of this classic band’s existence.
Sidney Bechet, a master on both the soprano-sax and clarinet, was one of the first major soloists in jazz history. Born in New Orleans in 1897, he was mostly self-taught and playing in public by the time he was eight. As a teenager he was considered one of the top jazz artists in New Orleans. At 17 he was traveling the South, three years later he reached Chicago and, after time in New York, in 1919 he toured Europe. In 1923 he became the first jazz horn soloist to be showcased on records. Throughout his career, Bechet was superb at both a soloist and at leading ensembles. During his final decade, he lived and played in France where he was a national celebrity.
Bob Wilber became Bechet’s protégé in 1946, learning from the master before emerging with his own sounds on clarinet, soprano and alto. Without copying Bechet, Wilber has helped keep small group swing and New Orleans jazz alive during the past 65 years. In 1979 when he and his wife singer Pug Horton formed Bechet Legacy, one of their most important additions to the group was trumpeter Glenn Zottola. A stirring trumpeter whose roots are in Louis Armstrong,   Zottola had recently completed a two year period with Benny Goodman.
The combination of Wilber and Zottola with pianist Mark Shane, guitarist Mike Peter, bassist Len Skeet and drummer Butch Miles on this twofer results in many fireworks. The group performs swing standards and Bechet originals with such explosive numbers as “Lady Be Good,” “Down In Honky Tonk Town,” “China Boy,” “Just One Of Those Things” and “Dans Le Reu D’Antibes” receiving definitive and hard-swinging treatments.
It is apparent from these timeless recordings that Bob Wilber and Glenn Zottola brought out the best in each other, and that Sidney Bechet would have loved to have joined them.

  1. JazzTimes Review by Scott Albin
    Quality

    Lovers of classic jazz, and Bob Wilber’s Soprano Summit (co-led with Kenny Davern) and Bechet Legacy groups in particular, will want to run not walk to pick up this two-fer containing over two hours of previously unreleased music from The Bechet Legacy during its 1981 and 1982 British tours. Those familiar with The Bechet Legacy’s On the Road album, recorded in studio with the same personnel while in the midst of the 1981 British tour, will have a very good idea of what to expect, but these 23 live tracks are even more exhilarating and rewarding. Wilber’s ravishing soprano sax and clarinet are joined on the totally-in-sync front line by dynamic trumpeter Glenn Zottola, and they are fervently supported by pianist Mark Shane, guitarist Mike Peters, bassist Len Skeat, and drummer Butch Miles, with Wilber’s wife Joanne “Pug” Horton providing gratifying vocals on several numbers. As one would expect, most of the selections were either composed and/or associated with the great soprano saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet, with whom Wilber studied, performed, and even lived as a young man in the late ’40’s.

    Bechet and Louis Armstrong recorded “Down in Honky Tonk Town ” together in 1940, and this up tempo version captures their spirit, with Wilber’s soprano and Zottola’s trumpet evoking their respective idols with aplomb. The other four players solo enthusiastically as well before a typically heated ensemble finale. “Coal Cart Blues” was recorded by Armstrong both with and without Bechet, and this arrangement with the two horns plus rhythm guitar and bass vividly captures the sound of the Bechet-Spanier Big Four, with solo space for all four and soprano and trumpet interacting mellifluously. Bechet’s evocative “Egyptian Fantasy” is sensitively performed by Wilber and Zottola, as they brilliantly inject their own personal touches into the harmonious mix. “Lazy Blues,” an early Bechet composition, is given a deceptively relaxed spin by Zottola and Wilber on clarinet, with the latter’s penetrating, incisive solo, and Zottola’s commanding, exultant statement to follow. Shane enhances the track with his stylish stride improv. “Summertime” was a hit for Bechet, and Wilber brings both his own and Sidney’s personalities to the fore, playing the soprano with less vibrato but no less lyrical flair than his inspiration.

    Duke Ellington’s “The Mooche,” a favorite of Bechet’s, gets a stirring run-through by Wilber’s resonant clarinet and Zottola’s gutsy plunger-muted trumpet, along with some elegant fills from Peters. Bechet’s lovely, sentimental ballad “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere” finds Wilber’s soprano and Zottola in captivating harmonic allegiance, and the trumpeter delivers a stunningly expressive solo prior to the duo’s unabashedly melodic reprise. The Bechet tune “Dans Le Rue D’Antibes” has a buoyant marching theme and rhythm, and Wilber’s extended soprano flight escalates in intensity as Zottola riffs and Shane strides. Zottola succeeds him in his best jabbing, wailing form, and after the pianist’s prancing improv, the two lead voices hook up for two intertwining, joyful choruses. Also patterned after a Bechet-Spanier Big Four arrangement is “Sweet Lorraine.” Wilber on soprano and Zottola are compelling in their keen lyricism both together and individually, with the latter especially fiery and imaginative. Wilber and Bechet recorded “Polka Dot Stomp” in 1947 and both soprano and trumpet here pounce infectiously on its “Muskrat Ramble”-like changes, as do Peters and Shane in their solos.

    One luxuriates in the delightful harmonic blend of unison soprano and trumpet on the theme of Bechet’s celebratory “Promenade Aux Champs-Elysees.” Wilber’s solo perfectly combines melodicism with rhythmic vitality, while Zottola follows Armstrong’s example in his highly communicative pronouncement. Shane’s effervescent turn is also a stimulating listen, and Skeat and Miles are given space to entice as well. Bechet’s endearing “Georgia Cabin” is split between soprano and trumpet before Zottola’s majestic solo and Wilber’s more subtly ingratiating one. The wealth of riches on these two glorious CDs also includes superior performances of the standards “Memories of You,” “Oh, Lady Be Good,” and “Just One of Those Things,” in addition to Billy Strayhorn’s “Daydream,” and Ellington’s “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” and “I Got It Bad and that Ain’t Good,” the latter highlighted by Horton’s deep-toned, nuanced reading of the lyrics, not a little remindful of Jack Teagarden’s approach. (Posted on 7/3/13)

  2. JazzTimes Review by Owen Cordle
    Quality

    Soprano Saxophonist and clarinetist Bob Wilber formed the Bechet Legacy in the late ’70’s. He had studied with Sidney Bechet as a teenager in the ’40’s, and it was a fitting time to formally honor his late mentor. On this two-CD set, recorded in England in 1981 and ’82, original Bechet Legacy members Glenn Zottola (trumpet) and Mark Shane (piano) are heard along with Mike Peters (guitar, banjo), Len Skeat (bass) and Butch Miles (drums). Vocalist Pug Horton, Wilber’s wife, is added on two tracks.
    It’s hard to imagine how this set could be improved. These were nights of musical ecstasy. The electricity surges in the opening, “Oh, Lady Be Good,” followed by “Down in Honky Tonk Town” and, later in disc two a flying “Just One of Those Things.” Then there are the ravishing ballads: “Summertime,” “Daydream,” “I Keep Calling Your Name” and Horton features, “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” and “Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe.” With Zotolla playing ‘Louis Armstrong’ to Wilber’s ‘Bechet,’ the performances contain telepathic trumpet and soprano (or clarinet) interplay, propulsive background riffing and a strong ensemble commitment from all. Or as ‘Scott Yanow’ says in his copious and superlative liner notes, “Bechet Legacy was never about the music being merely a string of solos.” Furthermore, the rhythm section is swing defined.
    We tend to regard the jazz of Bechet, Armstrong and their musical descendants as essentially happy music, and Wiber and company have surely captured that uplifting feeling throughout this set. Call it hot jazz or Dixieland or classic jazz, this set is the spirited essence and you need to hear it. (Posted on 7/3/13)

  3. We can be glad that these recordings were dug out of the archives and made available for us all to enjoy Review by Tony Augarde
    Quality

    Bob Wilber formed The Bechet Legacy in honour of his former teacher, Sidney Bechet. He keeps the great man’s memory alive by playing his compositions and other music from the era when Bechet flourished. In fact Bob Wilber has a calmer approach to the clarinet and soprano sax than Sidney Bechet did. It was therefore a good idea for Wilber to recruit Glenn Zottola as his colleague in the front line of The Bechet Legacy, because Zottola has a very contrasting style.

    Whereas most of Bob Wilber’s playing is legato, Glenn Zottola’s is generally the precise opposite – staccato. In fact Glenn might be called a disciple of Louis Armstrong, because his methods are so similar to Satch’s. While Bob Wilber charms with subtle romance and lyricism, Glenn Zottola astounds with high notes and hugely impressive displays.

    This recording was made by an enthusiastic amateur at two concerts in Lancaster in the early 1980s. True to its name, The Bechet Legacy plays no fewer than eight compositions by Sidney Bechet, including the mysterious Egyptian Fantasy, the poignant Si Tu Vois Ma Mère, and the evocative Georgia Cabin. This is a reminder, if it were needed, that Bechet could compose atmospheric pieces.

    Other highlights include Summertime, a tune which Sidney Bechet memorably recorded. Wilber follows in Bechet’s footsteps with several emotional choruses. The first CD ends with a cherishable version of Sweet Lorraine, starting at mid-tempo but hotting up when Zottola’s trumpet solo brings on the melodrama. Glenn also features in Memories of You, where he is backed simply by the rhythm section.

    We can be glad that these recordings were dug out of the archives and made available for us all to enjoy.
    (Posted on 7/1/13)

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  1. Review by Jack Goodstein
    Quality

    Fans of Dixieland music will find a lot to like on this album. Standout tracks on the first disc include Bechet’s “Egyptian Fantasy,” an interesting take on the Ellington classic “The Mooche,” and a soulful take on “Sweet Lorraine.” The Pug Horton vocals on tunes like “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” and “Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe” highlight the second disc, along with an impressive upbeat modern reading of “Just One of Those Things” and some exciting ensemble work in “China Boy.” But these are only my own favorites from a set of very fine performances. (Posted on 6/14/13)

  2. Review by Joe Lang
    Quality

    Sidney Bechet passed fifty four years ago. A pioneer in jazz (he beat Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months), Bechet has never received the wide spread acclaim that is so deserving.

    Fortunately we have Bob Wilbur and The Bechet Legacy to keep the flame alive and the joint jumping. Focusing primarily on the clarinet and soprano saxophone left plenty of time for Bechet to become a viable force as a composer perhaps the first triple threat artist in the early stages of the improvisation music we have come to know as jazz.

    This particular collection is a two disc set that pops in the tradition of the roots of the real deal players and pioneers that came out of New Orleans. Recorded in the early 80’s there is a hard swing here that Bechet used to influence other icons including Benny Goodman. Glenn Zootola co-leads this band on trumpet. A live recording including such standards as “Lady Be Good” and “Just One Of Those Things.”

    Incredibly entertaining and a well put together package recorded live. (Posted on 5/17/13)

Bechet_Legacy_CJ4-1

  1. Review by Jim Eigo – Warwick, NY
    Quality

    Wilber wields a soprano sax and clarinet while Zottola plies trumpet, both in a seven-man little big band bringing back not only the inimitable Sidney Bechet but also Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Tommy Dorsey, and Lionel Hampton. The Bechet Legacy: Birch Hall Concerts Live is exactly what it says, a very generous helping of joyously music for. This one from 1981 is as cool as the recently issued Paul Winter Count Me In: 1962-1963 set, though much more mannered in the wont of the era while humorous, decorous, upbeat, and suh-wingin’.

    Wilber in fact took lessons from Bechet himself and Zottola scored a trifecta playing trumpet on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour as a lad, then toured with not only Jack Teagarden and Bobby Hackett but also Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman. Christ, I thought I was big time just ’cause I saw Hendrix in concert, but these gents played with cats of equal magnitude well before Jimi ever picked up a guitar! Both trot out as huge a treasure chest of chops and improv as would make any modernist jazzbo beam with undiluted pleasure. (Posted on 5/17/13)

Birch Hall Concerts Live
 

Birch Hall Concerts Live– The Bechet Legacy

Lovers of classic jazz, and Bob Wilber’s Soprano Summit (co-led with Kenny Davern) and Bechet Legacy groups in particular, will want to run not walk to pick up this two-fer containing over two hours of previously unreleased music from The Bechet Legacy during its 1981 and 1982 British tours. Those familiar with The Bechet Legacy’s On the Road album, recorded in studio with the same personnel while in the midst of the 1981 British tour, will have a very good idea of what to expect, but these 23 live tracks are even more exhilarating and rewarding. Wilber’s ravishing soprano sax and clarinet are joined on the totally-in-sync front line by dynamic trumpeter Glenn Zottola, and they are fervently supported by pianist Mark Shane, guitarist Mike Peters, bassist Len Skeat, and drummer Butch Miles, with Wilber’s wife Joanne “Pug” Horton providing gratifying vocals on several numbers. As one would expect, most of the selections were either composed and/or associated with the great soprano saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet, with whom Wilber studied, performed, and even lived as a young man in the late ’40’s.

Bechet and Louis Armstrong recorded “Down in Honky Tonk Town ” together in 1940, and this up tempo version captures their spirit, with Wilber’s soprano and Zottola’s trumpet evoking their respective idols with aplomb. The other four players solo enthusiastically as well before a typically heated ensemble finale. “Coal Cart Blues” was recorded by Armstrong both with and without Bechet, and this arrangement with the two horns plus rhythm guitar and bass vividly captures the sound of the Bechet-Spanier Big Four, with solo space for all four and soprano and trumpet interacting mellifluously. Bechet’s evocative “Egyptian Fantasy” is sensitively performed by Wilber and Zottola, as they brilliantly inject their own personal touches into the harmonious mix. “Lazy Blues,” an early Bechet composition, is given a deceptively relaxed spin by Zottola and Wilber on clarinet, with the latter’s penetrating, incisive solo, and Zottola’s commanding, exultant statement to follow. Shane enhances the track with his stylish stride improv. “Summertime” was a hit for Bechet, and Wilber brings both his own and Sidney’s personalities to the fore, playing the soprano with less vibrato but no less lyrical flair than his inspiration.

Duke Ellington’s “The Mooche,” a favorite of Bechet’s, gets a stirring run-through by Wilber’s resonant clarinet and Zottola’s gutsy plunger-muted trumpet, along with some elegant fills from Peters. Bechet’s lovely, sentimental ballad “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere” finds Wilber’s soprano and Zottola in captivating harmonic allegiance, and the trumpeter delivers a stunningly expressive solo prior to the duo’s unabashedly melodic reprise. The Bechet tune “Dans Le Rue D’Antibes” has a buoyant marching theme and rhythm, and Wilber’s extended soprano flight escalates in intensity as Zottola riffs and Shane strides. Zottola succeeds him in his best jabbing, wailing form, and after the pianist’s prancing improv, the two lead voices hook up for two intertwining, joyful choruses. Also patterned after a Bechet-Spanier Big Four arrangement is “Sweet Lorraine.” Wilber on soprano and Zottola are compelling in their keen lyricism both together and individually, with the latter especially fiery and imaginative. Wilber and Bechet recorded “Polka Dot Stomp” in 1947 and both soprano and trumpet here pounce infectiously on its “Muskrat Ramble”-like changes, as do Peters and Shane in their solos.

One luxuriates in the delightful harmonic blend of unison soprano and trumpet on the theme of Bechet’s celebratory “Promenade Aux Champs-Elysees.” Wilber’s solo perfectly combines melodicism with rhythmic vitality, while Zottola follows Armstrong’s example in his highly communicative pronouncement. Shane’s effervescent turn is also a stimulating listen, and Skeat and Miles are given space to entice as well. Bechet’s endearing “Georgia Cabin” is split between soprano and trumpet before Zottola’s majestic solo and Wilber’s more subtly ingratiating one. The wealth of riches on these two glorious CDs also includes superior performances of the standards “Memories of You,” “Oh, Lady Be Good,” and “Just One of Those Things,” in addition to Billy Strayhorn’s “Daydream,” and Ellington’s “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” and “I Got It Bad and that Ain’t Good,” the latter highlighted by Horton’s deep-toned, nuanced reading of the lyrics, not a little remindful of Jack Teagarden’s approach.

CD/LP/Track Review

Bechet_Legacy_CJ4-1

The Bechet Legacy: The Bechet Legacy – Birch Hall Concerts Live (2013)

By

Published: May 1, 2013

Every so often a jewel of a recording is unearthed, prompting the obligatory question: “Why not sooner?” This wonderfully energetic, swinging effort is a treasure of an example.

“The Bechet Legacy,” with woodwind artist Bob Wilber and trumpeter Glenn Zottola up front, delivers significant homage toSidney Bechet and to the Golden Era of hot jazz. The double-CD set, recorded live in England over three decades ago, is a home run of Ruthian swing.

Somewhat overshadowed by his contemporary, Louis Armstrong‘s own legacy, saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet played a pivotal role in the development of the art form both here in the U.S. and as a longer-term resident and performer in Europe. His is the robust saxophone root of the tree that would eventually sprout Johnny Hodges(a Bechet student), Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker.

Delivering an array of Swing Era standards from Bechet’s and others’ pens, Wilber, (a protégé of Bechet’s) and Zottola soar through the selections with enormous vigor. There’s significant swing across the two session dates where the musical magnificence—and joy—never ceases.

Legacy leader, Wilber, of World’s Greatest Jazz Band fame, swings heavy on both soprano and clarinet. His improvised lines burst with chops, innovation and expression. He’s got a gorgeous sound on both axes and is no “vibrato cornball” on either. Partner Zottola, a scion of Zottola trumpet mouthpiece fame, has all of the Armstrong vocabulary in his wheelhouse. He’s got a vibrant sound, chops galore and swings at a level that would send other trumpeters to the woodshed. Like Pops, he uses the upper register shrewdly to fire up his solo forays. These are two stellar musicians performing with the ultimate respect for the tradition at hand.

The selections include tunes associated with Bechet, Armstrong, Ellington and others (“China Boy,” “Lady Be Good,” “Memories of You). Supported by a cooking rhythm section of pianist, Mark Shane, drummer Butch Miles, guitarist Mike Peters and bassist, Len Skeat (and a vocal by Mrs. Bob Wilber, Pug Horton), this legacy creates its own.

There’s a timeless element to this wonderful music. With so much of today’s jazz over-intellectualized and sterile, Wilber, Zottola and team deliver a vivid, swinging exposure to a timeless musical tradition in a romp.

Track Listing: CD-1: Oh, Lady Be Good; Down in Honky Tonk Town; Coal Cart Blues; Egyptian Fantasy; Lazy Blues; Summertime; The Mooche; Daydream; Si Tu Voi Ma Mare; Dans Le Rue D’Antibes; I Keep Calling Your Name; Sweet Lorraine CD-2: I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart; China Boy; I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good; Just One of Those Things; Polka Dot Stomp; Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe; Dear Old Southland; Promenade Aux Champs- Elysees; Georgia Cabin; Memories of You; Swing That Music.

Personnel: Bob Wilber: soprano saxophone, clarinet; Glenn Zottola: trumpet; Mark Shane: piano; Mike Peter: guitar, banjo; Len Skeat: bass; Butch Miles: drums; Pug Horton: vocals.

 
Bob Wilber / Glenn Zottola - The Bechet Legacy: Birch Hall Concerts Live

The Bechet Legacy:
Birch Hall Concerts Live

Bob Wilber / Glenn Zottola

Classic Jazz Records – CJ4
Available from Amazon.com.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)
The guys who turned me onto old-timey musics were Robert Crumb and Ian Whitcomb. Way back when, while a young, long-haired, troublemaking hippie digging on Crumb’s outrageous underground comix and loving what little I’d heard of Whitcomb (esp. his sole hit You Turn Me On), I figured if these cats were into stuff which previously I’d classed with Lawrence Welk and Old Spice (and they were HEAVILY into it), then I had to be missing something. I was, and, since then, I’ve slowly beefed up on all the elder golden sounds, even to the extent of recently getting hip to Jimmy Sturr and polka. It’s true!, and I have to now watch out for barrels of boiling tar and chicken feathers in venues I still chirographically haunt (the avant-garde, progrock, electronica, etc.) lest I wind up looking like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit…but…it’s worth the risk, and discs like this Bob Wilber / Glenn Zottola twofer show why. This is hipness and then some, babbaloo.
Wilber wields a soprano sax and clarinet while Zottola plies trumpet, both in a seven-man little big band bringing back not only the inimitable Sidney Bechet but also Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Spike Jones, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, and the regal klatsch of over-the-top chopsters and hep cats who used to flat-foot floozy every dance hall and turntable from the Adirondacks to Tierra del Fuego back in the day. The Bechet Legacy: Birch Hall Concerts Live is exactly what it says, a very generous helping of in-concert rhapsodizing over joyously Pleistocenic music for Boomer dinosaurs, their rest-home parents, and even Gen X’ers alight with adventurous spirits. Like the Jazzhaus label over in Germany, Classic Jazz re-presents some great hidden materials to the public at large, and this one from 1981 is as cool as the recently issued Paul Winter Count Me In: 1962-1963 (here) set, though much more mannered in the wont of the era while humorous, decorous, upbeat, and suh-wingin’.
Wilber in fact took lessons from Bechet himself and Zottola scored a trifecta playing trumpet on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour as a lad, then toured with not only Jack Teagarden and Buddy Hackett but also Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman. Christ, I thought I was big time just ’cause I saw Hendrix in concert, but these gents played with cats of equal magnitude well before Jimi ever picked up a guitar! Both gents trot out as huge a treasure chest of chops and improv as would make any modernist jazzbo beam with undiluted pleasure, but the ensemble also, in the old Dixie tradition this work directly stems from and lived within, gets in a wealth of equally slaying shout-outs and squibs, no one neglected, everyone ante-ing up an already considerable kitty. There’s a point at which all great musics meet and shake hands, and I have a lot of trouble convincing devotees of the Grateful Dead, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Carnatic musics that there’s just as much to revel in with sounds of this ilk, but it’s as true as the day is long, and the proof is right dang here, y’all. Of course, it’s equally tough to convince grandparents of the reverse and that maybe they’d get off just as much on Stevie Ray Vaughn and King Crimson as Ellington and Getz, but, well, who gives a damn anyway? As long as you ‘n me can grin like crazed little monkeys at these flipped-out jams, the sun could go cold for all I care……just so long as there’s enough electricity to keep the CD player going. Listen just to China Boy, and then join me in the cave. Bring some martinis ‘n moonshine.

Bechet_Legacy_CJ4-1

Bob Wilber formed The Bechet Legacy in honour of his former teacher, Sidney Bechet. Although Bob’s playing doesn’t sound at all like Bechet’s, he keeps the great man’s memory alive by playing his compositions and other music from the era when Bechet flourished. In fact Bob Wilber has a calmer approach to the clarinet and soprano sax than Sidney Bechet did. It was therefore a good idea for Wilber to recruit Glenn Zottola as his colleague in the front line of The Bechet Legacy, because Zottola has a very contrasting style.Whereas most of Bob Wilber’s playing is legato, Glenn Zottola’s is generally the precise opposite – staccato. In fact Glenn might be called a disciple of Louis Armstrong, because his methods are so similar to Satch’s. While Bob Wilber charms with subtle romance and lyricism, Glenn Zottola astounds with high notes and hugely impressive displays.This recording was made by an enthusiastic amateur at two concerts in Lancaster in the early 1980s. True to its name, The Bechet Legacy plays no fewer than eight compositions by Sidney Bechet, including the mysterious Egyptian Fantasy, the poignant Si Tu Vois Ma Mère, and the evocative Georgia Cabin. This is a reminder, if it were needed, that Bechet could compose atmospheric pieces.Other highlights include Summertime, a tune which Sidney Bechet memorably recorded. Wilber follows in Bechet’s footsteps with several emotional choruses. The first CD ends with a cherishable version of Sweet Lorraine, starting at mid-tempo but hotting up when Zottola’s trumpet solo brings on the melodrama. Glenn also features in Memories of You, where he is backed simply by the rhythm section.We can be glad that these recordings were dug out of the archives and made available for us all to enjoy.Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk

 

Begin forwarded message:

 

From: Glenn Zottola <glennzottola@gmail.com>
Date: November 1, 2013 at 12:43:31 PM PDT

THE BECHET LEgACY BOB WILBER – gLENN ZOTTOLA/BIRCH HALL CONCERTS LIVE CLASSIC JAZZ CJ 4 DISC 1 (69:33): OH, LADY BE gOOD/ DOWN IN HONKY TONK TOWN/ COAL CART BLUES/ EgYPTIAN FANTASY/ LAZY BLUES/ SUMMERTIME/ THE MOOCHE/ DAYDREAM/ SI TU VOIS MA MERE/ DANS LE RUE D’ANTIBES/ I KEEP CALLINg YOUR NAME/ SWEET LORRAINE. DISC 2 (69:24): I LET A SONg gO OUT OF MY HEART/ CHINA BOY/ I gOT IT BAD AND THAT AIN’T gOOD*/ JUST ONE OF THOSE THINgS/ POLKA DOT STOMP/ HAPPINESS IS A THINg CALLED JOE*/ DEAR OLD SOUTHLAND/ PROMENADE AUx CHAMPS- ELYSEES/ gEORgIA CABIN/ MEMORIES OF YOU/ SWINg THAT MUSIC. glenn Zottola (t), Bob Wilber (ss, cl), Mark Shane (p), Mike Peters (g, bjo), Len Skeat (b), Butch Miles (d), Pug Horton (vcl on *). England, 1981-1982.

Bechet_Legacy_CJ4-1

REISSUES

Bob Wilbur, who studied with the great New Orleans clarinetist and soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet in the Forties, is well known for his work in a variety of clas- sic jazz styles. He organized the Bechet Legacy ensemble after the demise of Soprano Summit, a group he co-
led with Kenny Davern. This double-CD of the Bechet Legacy was recorded at a pair of British concerts in
1981 and 1982 by super-fan Stan Bowmen with permis- sion of the artists, and is all previously unissued. Keep
in mind the non-professional aspect of the production when listening, since the results are less than perfect. Butch Miles’ drums, Len Skeat’s bass and Mike Peter’s guitar and banjo sometimes lack presence, with Wilbur’s reeds and front line partner glenn Zottola’s trumpet dominating the mix. Not that that’s such a bad thing, since it’s Wilbur’s pungent soprano or soulful clarinet and Zottola’s clarion call trumpet that hold much of the musical interest here. The repertoire is pretty much what you’d expect, a generally captivating mixture of tunes
by Ellington, Bechet and some real oldies like Down in Honky Tonk Town (1916) and Coal Cart Blues (1925). Nostalgia is a funny impulse: it can just as easily lead to a deadly dull revival as to vibrant music made with energy and at least a modicum of freshness. Star soloists Wilbur and Zottola keep things decidedly on the positive side of the equation and only occasionally does the music truly sound tired. Vocalist Pug Horton, Wilber’s wife and the catalyst for this ensemble, makes two appearances, fitting right in on I got It Bad and Happiness is a Thing Called Joe. By now, some three decades after these shows, the Bechet Legacy is subject to nostalgia in its own right. If you liked them back then, you’re in for a treat.

Stuart Kremsky

107 | CadenCe Magazine | OCt nOv deC 2013 

 Bechet_Legacy_CJ4-1

****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Bob Wilber-Glenn Zottola: The Bechet Legacy

by  • July 25, 2013 • 1 Comment

One of my guilty pleasures in music is listening to Bob Wilber on either soprano sax or clarinet. Taught by Sidney Bechet, Wilber’s sound and even his look have an old soul on an appeal. His music is always swinging, always happy and always seemingly ignored by the jazz snobs who insist that anything that isn’t cacophonous isn’t really jazz. Here, we’ve got a pair of concerts from the early 80s that have Wilber with honey toned trumpeter Glenn Zottola  and a  cooking team of Mark Shane/p, Mike Peters/g-banj, Len Skeat/b and, from Count Basie’s Orchestra, Butch Miles on drums. Pug Morton adds lovely vocals on a pair of tunes, but the reason you’re getting this 2 cd set is because you want to remember what horns are supposed to sound like.

On clarinet, Wilber is gloriously woody on “The Mooche” and hotter than h e double hockey sticks on “China Boy.” His soprano gives Johnny Hodges a nod on the luscious “Daydream” and rides with Zottola on blazing saddles on the white hot “Just One Of Those Things.” The front horns are febrile on “Oh, Lady Be Good” which also features some cooking soloing by Mike Peters, and the languid “Dans Le Rue D’Antibes, which saunters like a genteel aristocrat. Nothing pretentious here, and like the best cooks in the world, they let the basic ingredients speak for themselves, trusting in the essential good flavors the main products provide. The attitude of the whole pair of gigs and cds is summarized by the title of the last torrid piece: “Swing that Music.” Bon Appetite!

Classic Jazz Records

www.glennzottola.com

Bechet_Legacy_CJ4-1

Birch Hall Concerts Live– The Bechet Legacy

Lovers of classic jazz, and Bob Wilber’s Soprano Summit (co-led with Kenny Davern) and Bechet Legacy groups in particular, will want to run not walk to pick up this two-fer containing over two hours of previously unreleased music from The Bechet Legacy during its 1981 and 1982 British tours. Those familiar with The Bechet Legacy’s On the Road album, recorded in studio with the same personnel while in the midst of the 1981 British tour, will have a very good idea of what to expect, but these 23 live tracks are even more exhilarating and rewarding. Wilber’s ravishing soprano sax and clarinet are joined on the totally-in-sync front line by dynamic trumpeter Glenn Zottola, and they are fervently supported by pianist Mark Shane, guitarist Mike Peters, bassist Len Skeat, and drummer Butch Miles, with Wilber’s wife Joanne “Pug” Horton providing gratifying vocals on several numbers. As one would expect, most of the selections were either composed and/or associated with the great soprano saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet, with whom Wilber studied, performed, and even lived as a young man in the late ’40’s.

Bechet and Louis Armstrong recorded “Down in Honky Tonk Town ” together in 1940, and this up tempo version captures their spirit, with Wilber’s soprano and Zottola’s trumpet evoking their respective idols with aplomb. The other four players solo enthusiastically as well before a typically heated ensemble finale. “Coal Cart Blues” was recorded by Armstrong both with and without Bechet, and this arrangement with the two horns plus rhythm guitar and bass vividly captures the sound of the Bechet-Spanier Big Four, with solo space for all four and soprano and trumpet interacting mellifluously. Bechet’s evocative “Egyptian Fantasy” is sensitively performed by Wilber and Zottola, as they brilliantly inject their own personal touches into the harmonious mix. “Lazy Blues,” an early Bechet composition, is given a deceptively relaxed spin by Zottola and Wilber on clarinet, with the latter’s penetrating, incisive solo, and Zottola’s commanding, exultant statement to follow. Shane enhances the track with his stylish stride improv. “Summertime” was a hit for Bechet, and Wilber brings both his own and Sidney’s personalities to the fore, playing the soprano with less vibrato but no less lyrical flair than his inspiration.

Duke Ellington’s “The Mooche,” a favorite of Bechet’s, gets a stirring run-through by Wilber’s resonant clarinet and Zottola’s gutsy plunger-muted trumpet, along with some elegant fills from Peters. Bechet’s lovely, sentimental ballad “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere” finds Wilber’s soprano and Zottola in captivating harmonic allegiance, and the trumpeter delivers a stunningly expressive solo prior to the duo’s unabashedly melodic reprise. The Bechet tune “Dans Le Rue D’Antibes” has a buoyant marching theme and rhythm, and Wilber’s extended soprano flight escalates in intensity as Zottola riffs and Shane strides. Zottola succeeds him in his best jabbing, wailing form, and after the pianist’s prancing improv, the two lead voices hook up for two intertwining, joyful choruses. Also patterned after a Bechet-Spanier Big Four arrangement is “Sweet Lorraine.” Wilber on soprano and Zottola are compelling in their keen lyricism both together and individually, with the latter especially fiery and imaginative. Wilber and Bechet recorded “Polka Dot Stomp” in 1947 and both soprano and trumpet here pounce infectiously on its “Muskrat Ramble”-like changes, as do Peters and Shane in their solos.

One luxuriates in the delightful harmonic blend of unison soprano and trumpet on the theme of Bechet’s celebratory “Promenade Aux Champs-Elysees.” Wilber’s solo perfectly combines melodicism with rhythmic vitality, while Zottola follows Armstrong’s example in his highly communicative pronouncement. Shane’s effervescent turn is also a stimulating listen, and Skeat and Miles are given space to entice as well. Bechet’s endearing “Georgia Cabin” is split between soprano and trumpet before Zottola’s majestic solo and Wilber’s more subtly ingratiating one. The wealth of riches on these two glorious CDs also includes superior performances of the standards “Memories of You,” “Oh, Lady Be Good,” and “Just One of Those Things,” in addition to Billy Strayhorn’s “Daydream,” and Ellington’s “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” and “I Got It Bad and that Ain’t Good,” the latter highlighted by Horton’s deep-toned, nuanced reading of the lyrics, not a little remindful of Jack Teagarden’s approach.

The guys who turned me onto old-timey musics were Robert Crumb and Ian Whitcomb. Way back when, while a young, long-haired, troublemaking hippie digging on Crumb’s outrageous underground comix and loving what little I’d heard of Whitcomb (esp. his sole hit You Turn Me On), I figured if these cats were into stuff which previously I’d classed with Lawrence Welk and Old Spice (and they were HEAVILY into it), then I had to be missing something. I was, and, since then, I’ve slowly beefed up on all the elder golden sounds, even to the extent of recently getting hip to Jimmy Sturr and polka. It’s true!, and I have to now watch out for barrels of boiling tar and chicken feathers in venues I still chirographically haunt (the avant-garde, progrock, electronica, etc.) lest I wind up looking like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit…but…it’s worth the risk, and discs like this Bob Wilber / Glenn Zottola twofer show why. This is hipness and then some, babbaloo.

Wilber wields a soprano sax and clarinet while Zottola plies trumpet, both in a seven-man little big band bringing back not only the inimitable Sidney Bechet but also Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Spike Jones, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, and the regal klatsch of over-the-top chopsters and hep cats who used to flat-foot floozy every dance hall and turntable from the Adirondacks to Tierra del Fuego back in the day. The Bechet Legacy: Birch Hall Concerts Live is exactly what it says, a very generous helping of in-concert rhapsodizing over joyously Pleistocenic music for Boomer dinosaurs, their rest-home parents, and even Gen X’ers alight with adventurous spirits. Like the Jazzhaus label over in Germany, Classic Jazz re-presents some great hidden materials to the public at large, and this one from 1981 is as cool as the recently issued Paul Winter Count Me In: 1962-1963 (here) set, though much more mannered in the wont of the era while humorous, decorous, upbeat, and suh-wingin’.

g08760.jpg

The guys who turned me onto old-timey musics were Robert Crumb and Ian Whitcomb. Way back when, while a young, long-haired, troublemaking hippie digging on Crumb’s outrageous underground comix and loving what little I’d heard of Whitcomb (esp. his sole hit You Turn Me On), I figured if these cats were into stuff which previously I’d classed with Lawrence Welk and Old Spice (and they were HEAVILY into it), then I had to be missing something. I was, and, since then, I’ve slowly beefed up on all the elder golden sounds, even to the extent of recently getting hip to Jimmy Sturr and polka. It’s true!, and I have to now watch out for barrels of boiling tar and chicken feathers in venues I still chirographically haunt (the avant-garde, progrock, electronica, etc.) lest I wind up looking like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit…but…it’s worth the risk, and discs like this Bob Wilber / Glenn Zottola twofer show why. This is hipness and then some, babbaloo.

Wilber wields a soprano sax and clarinet while Zottola plies trumpet, both in a seven-man little big band bringing back not only the inimitable Sidney Bechet but also Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Spike Jones, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, and the regal klatsch of over-the-top chopsters and hep cats who used to flat-foot floozy every dance hall and turntable from the Adirondacks to Tierra del Fuego back in the day. The Bechet Legacy: Birch Hall Concerts Live is exactly what it says, a very generous helping of in-concert rhapsodizing over joyously Pleistocenic music for Boomer dinosaurs, their rest-home parents, and even Gen X’ers alight with adventurous spirits. Like the Jazzhaus label over in Germany, Classic Jazz re-presents some great hidden materials to the public at large, and this one from 1981 is as cool as the recently issued Paul Winter Count Me In: 1962-1963 (here) set, though much more mannered in the wont of the era while humorous, decorous, upbeat, and suh-wingin’.

Wilber in fact took lessons from Bechet himself and Zottola scored a trifecta playing trumpet on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour as a lad, then toured with not only Jack Teagarden and Buddy Hackett but also Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman. Christ, I thought I was big time just ’cause I saw Hendrix in concert, but these gents played with cats of equal magnitude well before Jimi ever picked up a guitar! Both gents trot out as huge a treasure chest of chops and improv as would make any modernist jazzbo beam with undiluted pleasure, but the ensemble also, in the old Dixie tradition this work directly stems from and lived within, gets in a wealth of equally slaying shout-outs and squibs, no one neglected, everyone ante-ing up an already considerable kitty. There’s a point at which all great musics meet and shake hands, and I have a lot of trouble convincing devotees of the Grateful Dead, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Carnatic musics that there’s just as much to revel in with sounds of this ilk, but it’s as true as the day is long, and the proof is right dang here, y’all. Of course, it’s equally tough to convince grandparents of the reverse and that maybe they’d get off just as much on Stevie Ray Vaughn and King Crimson as Ellington and Getz, but, well, who gives a damn anyway? As long as you ‘n me can grin like crazed little monkeys at these flipped-out jams, the sun could go cold for all I care……just so long as there’s enough electricity to keep the CD player going. Listen just to China Boy, and then join me in the cave. Bring some martinis ‘n moonshine.

Bechet_Legacy_CJ4-1

Bechet, JazzTimes, #1F2A5E3

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Bob Wilber / Glenn Zottola – The Bechet Legacy: Birch Hall Concerts Live
The Bechet Legacy:
Birch Hall Concerts LiveBob Wilber / Glenn ZottolaClassic Jazz Records – CJ4

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

The guys who turned me onto old-timey musics were Robert Crumb and Ian Whitcomb. Way back when, while a young, long-haired, troublemaking hippie digging on Crumb’s outrageous underground comix and loving what little I’d heard of Whitcomb (esp. his sole hit You Turn Me On), I figured if these cats were into stuff which previously I’d classed with Lawrence Welk and Old Spice (and they were HEAVILY into it), then I had to be missing something. I was, and, since then, I’ve slowly beefed up on all the elder golden sounds, even to the extent of recently getting hip to Jimmy Sturr and polka. It’s true!, and I have to now watch out for barrels of boiling tar and chicken feathers in venues I still chirographically haunt (the avant-garde, progrock, electronica, etc.) lest I wind up looking like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit…but…it’s worth the risk, and discs like this Bob Wilber / Glenn Zottola twofer show why. This is hipness and then some, babbaloo.

Wilber wields a soprano sax and clarinet while Zottola plies trumpet, both in a seven-man little big band bringing back not only the inimitable Sidney Bechet but also Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Spike Jones, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, and the regal klatsch of over-the-top chopsters and hep cats who used to flat-foot floozy every dance hall and turntable from the Adirondacks to Tierra del Fuego back in the day. The Bechet Legacy: Birch Hall Concerts Live is exactly what it says, a very generous helping of in-concert rhapsodizing over joyously Pleistocenic music for Boomer dinosaurs, their rest-home parents, and even Gen X’ers alight with adventurous spirits. Like the Jazzhaus label over in Germany, Classic Jazz re-presents some great hidden materials to the public at large, and this one from 1981 is as cool as the recently issued Paul Winter Count Me In: 1962-1963 (here) set, though much more mannered in the wont of the era while humorous, decorous, upbeat, and suh-wingin’.

Wilber in fact took lessons from Bechet himself and Zottola scored a trifecta playing trumpet on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour as a lad, then toured with not only Jack Teagarden and Buddy Hackett but also Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman. Christ, I thought I was big time just ’cause I saw Hendrix in concert, but these gents played with cats of equal magnitude well before Jimi ever picked up a guitar! Both gents trot out as huge a treasure chest of chops and improv as would make any modernist jazzbo beam with undiluted pleasure, but the ensemble also, in the old Dixie tradition this work directly stems from and lived within, gets in a wealth of equally slaying shout-outs and squibs, no one neglected, everyone ante-ing up an already considerable kitty. There’s a point at which all great musics meet and shake hands, and I have a lot of trouble convincing devotees of the Grateful Dead, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Carnatic musics that there’s just as much to revel in with sounds of this ilk, but it’s as true as the day is long, and the proof is right dang here, y’all. Of course, it’s equally tough to convince grandparents of the reverse and that maybe they’d get off just as much on Stevie Ray Vaughn and King Crimson as Ellington and Getz, but, well, who gives a damn anyway? As long as you ‘n me can grin like crazed little monkeys at these flipped-out jams, the sun could go cold for all I care……just so long as there’s enough electricity to keep the CD player going. Listen just to China Boy, and then join me in the cave. Bring some martinis ‘n moonshine.

Track List:

DISC 1 DISC 2
Oh, Lady Be Good
Down in Honky Tonk Town
Coal Cart Blues
Egyptian Fantasy
Lazy Blues
Summertime
Mooche
Daydream
Si Tu Vois Ma Mere
Dans Le Rue D’antibes
I Keep Calling Your Name
Sweet Lorraine
I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
China Boy
I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good
Just One of Those Things
Polka Dot Stomp
Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe
Dear Old Southland
Promenade aux Champs-Elysees
Georgia Cabin
Memories Of You
Swing That Music
No songwriting credits given.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

3 thoughts on “Reviews

  1. …………..”Glenn Zottola……..Great Entertaining Musician and True Friend”

    Truthfully this does not express the complete story of a childhood friend, who I had the pleasure of growing-up with as children and the exciting enjoyment of playing with as a musician along with Glenn’s family of musicians.
    There was so much talent, passion and musical excitement in the room as many of us played together and I must say the music was so superb it would flow into such heart felt recording material session…………
    It was then I realized…………. Glenn would make musical world history.
    I must take a moment and recognize Glenn’s wonderful parents, Mr.and Mrs.Zottola as two of the most gracious, talented, caring and loving individuals. Glenn’s father was of genius quality.
    Most clearly world known for the Zottola Trumpet Mouth Piece, all of which he designed and crafted on his own in his rather unique shop in Port Chester, New York.
    Glenn you are truly a man of unique talent technique and individually.
    I speak from the heart for many of us who have had the honor of not only being and playing with Glenn but to know him as a crafted originator and true friend.
    Glenn…….. We all salute you through the years for your dedicated devotion to the musical arts and we thank you for having the opportunity to be musicians with you as part of your passion and musical journey.
    Sincerely,
    Allan G. and The Universals……. Together with all your fellow band musicians and friends.

      1. Glen,
        It’s not only my pleasure, but from all the great musicians that you’ve worked with throughout the many years. They all remember you and speak so highly of you.
        I have many now viewing and enjoying you wonderful web site.
        Proud to be part of your life and passion.
        Glad to help and provide support….
        Your friend,
        Allan G

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