Glenn Zottola “My Life In Jazz” The Great American Songbook – Episode 23

Glenn Zottola “Getting Sentimental” Review by Jazz writer Nick Mondello.

Our culture – and within that one of its bedrocks, our music – is in somewhat of a topsy-turvy, push-the-envelope-to-the-extremes flux. What excites or tempts, even repulses irrespective of good taste, is attractive and what formerly passed as beauty is bad toast. If it’s not “hot,” it’s not. The music in “Getting Sentimental,” from trumpeter Glenn Zottola is the antipodal musical pole from entertainment icons and hit-makers such as “twerker,” Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga (actually a homonym from the Italian meaning to defecate) and hip-hopper, Nicky Minaj (no talent, therefore no comment deserved), et al. His is an offering of exquisite taste, talent and beauty that is a throwback to days when talent and taste trumped exposed or undulating body parts – what author, Tom Wolfe once told me they were like “glistening giblets.” This is simply a gorgeous recording reminiscent of the classic 1960s Bobby Hackett-Jackie Gleason collaborations. Brilliantly covering nine Great American Songbook ballad standards and performing them over lush material drawn from Irv Kratka’s Classic Jazz treasures, Zottola’s lush trumpet and singing style is hypnotically sensuous. I’d swear that there is a Sinatra, a Bennett, or a Hartman hiding in that horn of his. His playing approach values melody over technique – although, rest assured he has plenty of that – and beauty over finger-wiggling. There are very obvious shades of the great Clifford Brown here and Zottola’s sound is Grand, as in “Canyon.” Post-modernists and “millennials” that have only been exposed to “entertainers,” as opposed to artists, could learn a valuable musical lesson here. This is brilliance and beauty in music. And, it is offered by a gifted performer being at his best. Perhaps on Grammy® night the “twerkers” and hip-hoppers might get to the stage first. That is, of course, if the presenters don’t hand out the awards in reverse alpha order. “Getting Sentimental” is that deserving.

Glenn Zottola “My Life In Jazz” with Frank Sinatra Episode 22

Glenn Zottola Plays Classic Arrangements Review By Nick Mondello

The arranger’s task is a multi-dimensional one. He/she must develop an aural landscape that – as one certainly would for a great work of art – frame the subject appropriately, while never being so ornate as to distract or misrepresent. The greatest of arrangers, especially those who worked with Frank Sinatra – Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, Quincy Jones, Billy May and others – also had the knack to present material which stimulates the soloist, urging him or her on and effectively simultaneously challenging artist and musicians. Ennui and complacency – whether actual or perceived – are the arrangers’ Satans and Hell on earth for musical artists. With this superior and fascinating effort, multi-instrumentalist Glenn Zottola brazenly places himself in the “Sinatra spotlight,” performing a baseball team’s worth of Sinatra-affiliated tunes (“Teach Me Tonight,” “Angel Eyes,” “Street of Dreams”). Each selection was inspired by the actual arrangements and was impeccably transcribed – and performed same. It’s brilliant all around. Zottola’s alto saxophone is a classic one – a throwback to when sonic beauty trumped technical wizardry and when melody reigned supreme. This is a lush, elegant send-up of the highest order. Zottola is a melody marvel, possessing that unique, indescribable element that only occurs when what is written on staff paper flows through the performer’s heart and soul and becomes a “feeling,” a “touch,” a “memory,” or “picture” in the listener’s mind. It’s magic, and Zottola has the wand with which to make it here. Voila!

Glenn Zottola “My Life In Jazz” Classic Standards with Strings Inspired by Ben Webster – Episode 21

Glenn Zottola Classic Standards with Strings Inspired by Ben Webster Review by Jazz Writer Nick Mondello

Jazz Legends Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Ben Webster are rightfully considered the Swing Era’s Pantheon of the tenor saxophone. It is from that glorious rock-solid foundation of the jazz tree that yet-to-come tenor greats such as Stan Getz, John Coltrane and others blossomed. The influence of the tenor triumvirate on those who followed them was enormous – Hawkins improvisational genius exemplified in the still-examined “Body and Soul,” Young’s suave and silky-smooth cool melodic and improvisational approach and Webster’s sensually breathy balladic and hard-swinging up-tempo interpretations. With “Classic Standards with Strings – Inspired by Ben Webster,” multi-instrumentalist Glenn Zottola, yet again musically validates his worldwide reputation as both an insightful and highly expressive musical artist. Here he grabs his tenor and brilliantly delivers a dozen of the Great American Songbook’s most melodic and romantic jewels. The result is an aural masterpiece of tone, melodic passion, and lyric sensitivity. Webster was a large man who was nicknamed “Brute.” However, his breathy entrances and tonal sensitivities belied the moniker. Zottola, who shrewdly doesn’t mime Webster’s sound or articulation here and who certainly isn’t brutish in any way – musically or otherwise – renders all of the smoothness and sensitivity that both the esteemed material and his mentor deserve. Working exclusively with the greatest of balladic material (“Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” “Laura,” “Embraceable You”) and backed by a lush string orchestra and superior arrangements, the recording is reminiscent of the great Jackie Gleason sides – you know, when music was about elegance, romance and class. Zottola, first and foremost a melody man, takes this classic material and literally breathes interpretive life into it. His reserved dynamic feel and vocal-tinged vibrato are a case study in lyricism and stellar ballad playing (“Where or When?” “Yesterdays,” and “Stardust”). When he covers the melody, Zottola gives the marvelous illusion of singing via his horn. And, his well-thought out improvisations all gravitate from a melodic core. The entire effort is a rapturous dream. Ben Webster is still revered worldwide and especially in Denmark where there is a street named after him (as well as a foundation that awards scholarships to young jazzers). However, I’m dead-certain that when the Danes get a hold of this effort from Glenn Zottola, they might consider getting a second street sign ready for another superb tenor man.

Glenn Zottola “My Life In Jazz” The Bossa Nova Story Stan Getz and Jobim – Episode 20

Glenn Zottola: The Bossa Nova Story, Glenn Zottola, Salutes Stan Getz review By EDWARD BLANCO in All About Jazz June 6, 2014 6683 Views

Trumpeter and saxophonist Glenn Zottola has been a serious part of the music business for more than four decades, recording over 50 albums as a sideman and leader as well as adding Broadway and TV show musician to his resume. In 2014, Zottola decided to embark on the tribute circle recording a series of homage albums for the Classic Jazz Records label such as (Clifford Brown Remembered (Classic Jazz Records, 2014), Reflections of Charlie Parker (Classic Jazz Records, 2014) and now, The Bossa Nova Story, Glenn Zottola, Salutes Stan Getz. The album is a combine tribute to Getz’s involvement in the bossa nova, the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Brazilian jazz in general. The result of course, is a warm and beautiful portrait of the bossa style from the perspective of the tenor saxophone and the everlasting influence Stan Getz left on the music. The world first learned of the samba and bossa nova from the 1959 film Black Orpheus by French director Marcel Camus where the original sound track had a Luiz Bonfa composition “Manha de Carnival” represented on this album as simply “Black Orpheus.” The album starts off with the Orpheus song led by a gorgeous introduction from Argentinian guitarist Marcelo Berestovoy leading to Zottola’s masterful solos on the piece. There have been many interpretations of Jobim’s signature piece, “The Girl from Ipanema” but somehow, Zottola’s Getz’s impersonation, along with Tom Hartman’s string arrangements, elevates this one to elite status. On the fiftieth anniversary of this classic and the twentieth anniversary of Jobim’s passing, this seemed a perfect inclusion to The Bossa Nova Story. The Getz/bossa homage rolls right along with delightful treatments of such classics as “Gentle Rain,” “Once I Loved” and Zottola’s superb interpretation of Jobim’s “One Note Samba” equally as enchanting as the famous Getz instrumental rendition. Other immortal Jobim classic such as “Dindi,” Meditation,” and “Triste,” are all presented with the saxophonist leading the way with tasteful accompaniment from a stellar cast of players and a delightful string section. Also Included in this tribute album are non-bossa standards like Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You,” and the Robert Wright/George Forrest classic “Baubles, Bangles and Beads”—both transformed into bossa songs on the Grammy—nominated Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (Reprise, 1967) recording. The program ends as it began with a delicious interpretation of another Bonfa standard “Samba de Orfeu” where the saxophonist’s high flying solos are splendidly supported by guitarist Berestovoy with a little help from percussionist Emiliano Almeida capping off a memorable taste of Brazil. As tribute albums go, Glenn Zottola’s The Bossa Nova Story tells a tale of a jazz icon whose saxophone changed the music and of a musical style that changed the world. The great Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim are no doubt, smiling from heaven after hearing Zottola’s graceful treatment of their enduring music, well done!

Glenn Zottola “My Life In Jazz” Clifford Brown – Episode 19

GLENN ZOTTOLA – CLIFFORD BROWN REMEMBERED Review by NICHOLAS F. MONDELLO in All About Jazz May 6, 2014 7980 Views

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. Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Classic Jazz Records

Glenn Zottola “My Life In Jazz” Charlie Parker – Episode 18

Review by Geannine Reid in All About Jazz 10,589 views

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! Personnel Glenn Zottola: alto 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.

Glenn Zottola “My Life In Jazz” The Final Phase – Episode 17

CJ 16 Glenn Zottola Too Marvelous for Words by Jazz Writer Nick Mondello

Going back to the Ancients, those who wrote – or verbally passed on – about Man were wise to have their subjects appear, act and react greater than life. Whether describing Gods or Heroes, the sagacious story-tellers knew that amplifying mortals was a way of garnering interest and inspiring listeners. When it is Glenn Zottola, this writer has no need for amplification or exaggeration. The guy is indescribably talented at a level that astonishes and leaves heads shaking 180. Not only is Zottola an ace trumpeter, having performed worldwide with Benny Goodman, Bob Wilber, and other jazz Pantheon residents, not only is he a superior sax man (as demonstrated here), the guy, completely self-taught, does it primarily by ear, brain and most of all – heart. He’s off the planet talent-wise. With “Too Marvelous for Words” Zottola grabs his tenor and sets off to superbly cover 10 GAS sides (performing with previously recorded rhythm section backing) that are absolutely beautiful, swinging, and as tasteful as anyone, be it Getz, Hamilton, Webster could deliver. He’s that good. Zottola’s sax sound is classic – restrained, baby-butt smooth and reeking of lyric love. I don’t know if he sings, but, the guy certainly “vocalizes” his melodies (and his solos, for that matter). It’s almost magnetic, especially if a listener would already know the lyrics. Are those words flowing from his axe? It’s a grand “Grand Illusion,” for sure. Furthermore, performing across already recorded material, an artist can be easily constrained to accommodate that which cannot accommodate him. Shrewdly, Zottola, ever the “ear-man,” is so in synch with the three different All-Star rhythm sections that, unless the liners indicated it, you’d never know it. Glenn Zottola’s “Too Marvelous for Words” certainly lives up to those words. Frankly, it’s another in a long line of examples of his being not one of us.

Grammy Entry – Glenn Zottola “Just Friends”

My record label just informed me they submitted my most recent album to the Grammy’s in 2 categories best jazz album and best improvised solo for “Just Friends”. I don’t have high hopes regarding the Grammy’s as the music i love is not in Vogue and that is totally o.k. as that is not why i did this album. My statement in the liner notes below is why i did this album and it was truly a labor of love:)
About this album :
Charlie Parker has been referred to as the Mozart of Jazz. He had a tremendous love for Classical Music and In 1949 jazz history was made when Charlie Parker went into the studio and recorded an album with strings the first time any jazz player had recorded with strings. There were 2 sessions released on 10 inch LPs one in 1949 with 6 songs and another session in 1950 with 8 songs. These 9 songs are culled from both sessions. Much like my earlier Clifford Brown album this album is truly from my heart and what a joy to be able to re-visit this historic recording. These are all my own solos with Charlie Parkers “spirit” in mind using transcriptions of the original arrangements from those sessions. I simply just wanted to see what it would of felt like had I walked in the studio that eventful day. Of course having Charlie Parker open the door and point the way is priceless. Another thing I loved about this album was how it displayed the romantic side of Charlie Parker and his aesthetic and melodic beauty and I wanted to attempt to get that across in my playing. I want to thank Irv Kratka the president of Classic Jazz records for giving me the opportunity to do this project and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Glenn Zottola
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Glenn Zottola’s Career and Albums

I have been so fortunate to record these 15 albums (my bucket list) these last 4 years since coming out of retirement on all 3 instruments in all the styles of music i truly love which makes a career total of 55 albums. I just found out every album and every track of these recent albums has been distributed to you tube. My work is done and i feel very fulfilled and I sincerely thank all the jazz legends , fans , friends and listeners who made this journey all worth it.

National Endowment Of The Arts Bio by Nick Mondello

In a genre where biographies are filled with achievements, anecdotes, awards, and career ups and downfalls, multi-instrumentalist, musical director and all-around savant, Glenn Zottola possesses certainly one of the most unique. The scion of a musical family – Glenn’s father, Frank arranged for Claude Thornhill, was a legendary trumpet mouthpiece-maker, and later owned a jazz nightclub – Glenn began playing trumpet at age three. Soon, he was playing along with his gifted pianist Mother and developing his legendary “ear,” arguably one of the best in the biz. That playing experience and aural skill alone would later set Zottola apart from musician mortals and draw the respect of swingmaster Benny Goodman and others.
At 9 he was playing with youth orchestras and at 13 was a three-time winner on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour and did a nationwide Mack tour with other winners. He was also a featured performer at the Zottola jazz nightclub, playing in a melodically embellished style that was reminiscent of Louis Armstrong. At 17, Glenn, whose reputation as a hard- swinging improviser was resonating, hit the road with the Glenn Miller Band, then under clarinetist Buddy DeFranco’s leadership. A stint with Lionel Hampton’s Band followed, as well as a non-stop series of performances with the A-List of popular music: Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé and many others. As was the case throughout his career, Zottola was always “Mr. Swinging” and in the utmost demand. It wasn’t long before Broadway beckoned and Glenn’s beautiful tone was regularly heard from the band-pits of “Evita,” “Barnum,” “Annie” and “Chicago.”
Benny Goodman was notorious for employing only the most accomplished and swinging musicians. It was a Goodman’s request that Zottola soon joined and toured with the Goodman ensemble. Zottola’s awesome technical ability, as well as his impeccable swing moved Goodman to such an extent that he considered Glenn one of his best, if not the best, trumpeter ever in his employ.
As savvy an entrepreneur as a musician, Zottola then launched his own musical production company which employed over 70 musicians and presented over 300 gigs per year throughout the East. One of his associates at the time was legendary drummer Bobby Rosengarden. But, being a soloist by his very nature, Glenn soon chose to move back into the solo spotlight. He formed his own groups (both small and big band), recorded scores of celebrated albums, and toured the world, performing with Gerry Mulligan, Chick Corea, Milt Hinton, Bob Wilber, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and just about every name in Leonard Feather’s Encyclopedia of Jazz.
What is also testament to Zottola’s unique musical brilliance – he’s never taken a lesson and, while he can read music, plays predominantly by ear – is the fact that, having a lifelong interest and love for the instruments’ sound and lyric beauty, he taught himself to play both alto and tenor saxophones – and to develop said horns at such a level of proficiency that his performances and saxophone recordings on those instruments (and trumpet, of course) have been critically lauded in DownBeat, All About Jazz, et al, and they have submitted for Grammy® nominations.
Zottola, never one to rest on laurels, soon became performer and Musical Director for actress/vocalist, Suzanne Somers television show. With Suzanne, Zottola’s “baton” and three horns also traveled the world’s foremost musical venues “just doing his ‘Glenn’ thing,” as Sommers would state. Glenn’s ability to blend his tone, lyricism and sense of swing, as well as guide the performances was heralded.
Over the last few years, Zottola, a firebrand of energy has recorded over 14 celebrated albums, many on trumpet and others on alto or tenor saxophone. While great multi-instrumentalists are not unique in the jazz world, no one performer has played at the complete proficiency on all three of those specific instruments, as well as been a musical director and businessman. Lately, Zottola, always one to “give back,” has begun to share his abundant expertise by way of interviews, Master Classes and clinics throughout the world.
The Glenn Zottola saga continues to evolve to this day with multiple exciting projects in the works. It has been a “Jazz Life” of depth, accomplishment, class, and above all – swing.

Glenn Zottola “Summertime”

Published on Oct 5, 2015

Classic Jazz Records – Glenn Zottola “Charlie Parker with Strings Revisited” by Jazz Writer Nick Mondello

Musical genius has little regard for boundaries, whether those limits are stylistic, tempo, ensemble format, or, in this example, historical precedent. Expanding on that hypothesis, when an artist such as Glenn Zottola steps into the impossible-to-wear musical Florsheims of Charlie Parker, as he does so effortlessly here, he risks everything in a zero-sum game of musical Russian roulette. The emulation is a Herculean task, a pas de deux with the Devil fraught with musical and possible critical peril.
Here, Zottola, a multi-instrumentalist and musical savant if there ever was one, places himself in a musical Lion’s Den and performs his personal stylistic renderings of Parker’s classic string sessions of 1949 and 1950. The result is a portrait of both Parker’s enormous abilities and impact on jazz to this day and also Zottola’s incredible ability to perform brilliantly at such a level of precision and artistry.
The recording features Zottola playing nine cuts from Bird’s epic Mercury Records sessions along with impeccable orchestral transcriptions of the original Jimmy Carroll and Joe Lipman arrangements. If that weren’t enough of a feat, Zottola plays here entirely by ear and sans sheet music. Shrewdly, Zottola does not “cop” Parker’s original improvisations. He doesn’t have to. His interpretations are musically rich, inventive and, while they shade Parker’s style and technique, they are obviously not an attempt to play Bird’s licks. One gets the immediate impression that Zottola could do that if he foolishly so desired. He’s that good getting around the horn.
There’s a very famous photograph, a close-up of Bird’s fingers gingerly grasping his alto in an almost amorous manner as his musical magic poured out. I’d bet the house that Glenn Zottola probably holds his axe in a similar way since the result here is the same.

Available on iTunes, CD Baby , Target , Barnes and Noble and innercityjazz.com

Glenn Zottola “This Heart Of Mine”

I met Miles Davis when I was 13 years old at Birdland in NYC. He was there with his historic sextet with John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. This album is half with all star small group and half orchestra ala Gil Evans concentrating on Miles work in the 50s that changed jazz and my life. My good friend Chick Corea was a great sounding board while recording this album which is heartwarming as he worked so much with Miles. I opened the album with this Harry Warren song “This Heart Of Mine”.

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New Release – Glenn Zottola “Prisoner Of Love

Classic Jazz Records – Glenn Zottola “Come Fly With Me” 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?
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Glenn Zottola “Come Fly With Me”

https://youtu.be/IyFvtcPA0Vo
Classic Jazz records Glenn Zottola “Come Fly With Me” 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?

Available on iTunes, amazon, CD Baby , Target , Barnes and Noble and innercityjazz.com

New Release – Glenn Zottola with Orchestra “How High The Moon”

Glenn Zottola with Orchestra “Come Fly With Me” 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?

New Release – Glenn Zottola “The Very Thought Of You”

Classic Jazz – Glenn Zottola “Getting Sentimental” by Jazz Writer Nick Mondello
Our culture – and within that one of its bedrocks, our music – is in somewhat of a topsy-turvy, push-the-envelope-to-the-extremes flux. What excites or tempts, even repulses irrespective of good taste, is attractive and what formerly passed as beauty is bad toast. If it’s not “hot,” it’s not.
The music in “Getting Sentimental,” from trumpeter Glenn Zottola is the antipodal musical pole from entertainment icons and hit-makers such as “twerker,” Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga (actually a homonym from the Italian meaning to defecate) and hip-hopper, Nicky Minaj (no talent, therefore no comment deserved), et al. His is an offering of exquisite taste, talent and beauty that is a throwback to days when talent and taste trumped exposed or undulating body parts – what author, Tom Wolfe once told me they were like “glistening giblets.”
This is simply a gorgeous recording reminiscent of the classic 1960s Bobby Hackett-Jackie Gleason collaborations. Brilliantly covering nine Great American Songbook ballad standards and performing them over lush material drawn from Irv Kratka’s Classic Jazz treasures, Zottola’s lush trumpet and singing style is hypnotically sensuous. I’d swear that there is a Sinatra, a Bennett, or a Hartman hiding in that horn of his. His playing approach values melody over technique – although, rest assured he has plenty of that – and beauty over finger-wiggling. There are very obvious shades of the great Clifford Brown here and Zottola’s sound is Grand, as in “Canyon.”
Post-modernists and “millennials” that have only been exposed to “entertainers,” as opposed to artists, could learn a valuable musical lesson here. This is brilliance and beauty in music. And, it is offered by a gifted performer being at his best. Perhaps on Grammy® night the “twerkers” and hip-hoppers might get to the stage first. That is, of course, if the presenters don’t hand out the awards in reverse alpha order. “Getting Sentimental” is that deserving.
Available on iTunes , Amazon , CD Baby , Target , Barnes and Noble and innercityjazz.com.

Glenn Zottola “I Remember Clifford”

This is the closing track on my Clifford Brown tribute I recorded last year. Clifford changed my musical life and In 1961 when I was 13 years old I had my first big jazz gig at the Atlantic City Jazz Festival on the bill with Dinah Washington, Gerry Mulligan , Oscar Peterson and Art Blakey. It was like yesterday standing in the wings waiting to go on to do my set being memorized watching “The Queen” Dinah Washington as she was called. I took the track she recorded in 1957 shortly after Clifford tragically died and asked my arranger to add a chorus for me to play on.

available on iTunes , CD Baby , Amazon , Target , Best Buy , Barnes and Noble and Innercityjazz.com

Glenn Zottola and Doc Cheatham at Carnegie Hall

Published on November 5, 2015
Doc Cheatham plays the first solo and I play the second. This is the jam session portion of that night in 1988 at Carnegie Hall on the 50th anniversary of the historic Benny Goodman concert the first time ever jazz was in Carnegie Hall. Doc Cheatham , Myself , Bob Wilber , Buddy Tate, Al Grey , Norris Turney , John Bunch , Al Casey and Panama Francis. What a band and what a night

Glenn Zottola , Zoot Sims , Teddy Wilson , Milt Hinton , Gus Johnson

I only used a portion of this track on my jazz life anthology because it was long the album just has the trades at the end with Zoot and I. Teddy Wilson arrived later so we started a blues without piano. I am playing alto on this cut. Great times and all star band circa 1984.
Available on itunes , Amazon, CD Baby , Target , Barnes and Noble and innercityjazz.com

Glenn Zottola – New Releases Review 2015

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REVIEWS
WHO IS THIS GUY?!?!? Glenn Zottola: Miles Davis Remembered, Come Fly With Me, Getting Sentimental, Classic Arrangements, Too Marvelous For Words
by George W. Harris • October 29, 2015 •

One of the real joys of music is when you discover an artist who is a kindred spirit. Glenn Zottola is one of those guys you’re gonna love. He’s been around since Moby Dick was an anchovy, playing the tenor, alto and trumpet (!) as a sideman for the likes of Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee. Yeah, he can’t keep a steady job. He looks like he should be behind the counter at your local deli asking how much prosciutto you want. He’s a swing-to-bopper at heart, with a tone on all three instruments that is as soothing as a mint julep.

He got my attention last year with a tribute to Charlie Parker with Strings, and another tribute to Clifford Brown with Strings. How many artists today could pull THAT off?!? Now, he’s just released five, count ‘em, five new ones. Dig in!!!

The first one is Miles Davis Remembered, which must be an oldie as it includes Stan Getz/ts, Jimmy Raney/g, Hal McKusick/fl-cl, George Duvivier/b and Ed Shaughnessy/dr in supporting roles. This is a subtle session that spotlights the gentler and romantic side of The Dark Prince. Remember his famous quote that he never plays ballads in concerts because he likes them so much? This disc gives evidence. Whether on Harmon mute or with the horn open, Zottolla glows warm embers on “Jupiter” and “Spring Is Here” while the obscure “Beta Minus” is a major plus. Look for this one!

Come Fly With Me has Zottolla on the trumpet still, with big band and strings doing Rat Pack pleasures with the title track while he glows like a full moon on “Prisoner of Love.” The version of “God Bless The Child” is a throwback to the 60s Blood Sweat and Tears read, while the pasta fazool is simmering on “Volare.” A ton of fun here.

Getting Sentimental has Zottola delving into classic Hollywood and Broadway musicals. The mood is highly romantic here, while nostalgia in the wind on “Red Sails in the Sunset” while images of WWII are evoked during “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” and “Stardust.” A read of the lesser known “”Moonlight Becomes You” is a bel canto aria of passion. This guy’s a charmer!

Zottola switches to alto sax as he gets together with a hip orchestra to do some charts that were inspired by Frank Sinatra’s vintage years at Capitol Records. There’s a wonderfully moody read of “Angel Eyes” that has Zottolla’s alto caress the melody, while “Autumn in New York” and” Come Rain or Come Shine” are filled with yearning passion. He can swoon like Johnny Hodges on “Teach Me Tonight” and sound like he’s telling you a hard luck story on “Street of Dreams.” Lyricism at its best.

Speaking of the best, I saved the best for last, as Zottola on tenor sax is as close these days that you’ll get to hearing Lester Young, my friend. He’s with three different rhythm section s here, including luminaries such as Nat Pierce-Don Abney/p, Mundell Lower-Jimmy raney-Barry Galbraith/g, Milt Hinton-Oscar Pettiford-Wilbur Ware/b (where’d he find THESE guys?!?!?) and Osie Johnson-Kenny Clarke-Bobby Donaldson/dr. If you want to hear the definition of swing, start right here with “Three Little Words” and “Oh, Lady Be Good” where Zottolla takes his tenor and makes it flow like lava. The skies open on “Body and Soul” and a smoke ringed take of “You Go To My Head” is wonderfully remorseful. If the sound of the horn is more important than mindless chops, then this guy is your soul mate.

http://www.glennzottolla.com

http://www.innercityjazz.com

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

Maxine Sullivan and Glenn Zottola “Killing Time”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my8L67eB0uM
This is a song from Maxine’s Jule Styne album I did. The lyrics were written by great lyricist Carol Leigh who wrote lyrics to “Witchcraft” , “The Best Is Yet To Come” and “Young At Heart” and she wrote these lyrics at the end of her life. Maxine delivers this “poignant” song setting a mood that was quite easy for me to contribute to. This is also on my anthology.
Available on iTunes, CD Baby , Amazon , Barnes and Noble and innercityjazz.com

Maxinne Sullivan and Glenn Zottola “Lady’s In Love With You”

I worked with Frank Sinatra , Tony Bennett , Mel Torme , Ella Fitzgerald , Peggy Lee and Joe Williams but Maxine is one of my favorite singers of all time. When I mentioned her name to Peggy Lee during the album I did for her she said “Maxine was a huge influence” and sure enough that easy swingin style is priceless and what a “lady” she was. I included this track from her album we did together on my anthology.
available in iTunes, CD Baby , Amazon and innercityjazz.com

New Release – Glenn Zottola “Summertime”

Classic Jazz Records – Glenn Zottola “Charlie Parker with Strings Revisited” By Nick Mondello

Musical genius has little regard for boundaries, whether those limits are stylistic, tempo, ensemble format, or, in this example, historical precedent. Expanding on that hypothesis, when an artist such as Glenn Zottola steps into the impossible-to-wear musical Florsheims of Charlie Parker, as he does so effortlessly here, he risks everything in a zero-sum game of musical Russian roulette. The emulation is a Herculean task, a pas de deux with the Devil fraught with musical and possible critical peril.
Here, Zottola, a multi-instrumentalist and musical savant if there ever was one, places himself in a musical Lion’s Den and performs his personal stylistic renderings of Parker’s classic string sessions of 1949 and 1950. The result is a portrait of both Parker’s enormous abilities and impact on jazz to this day and also Zottola’s incredible ability to perform brilliantly at such a level of precision and artistry.
The recording features Zottola playing nine cuts from Bird’s epic Mercury Records sessions along with impeccable orchestral transcriptions of the original Jimmy Carroll and Joe Lipman arrangements. If that weren’t enough of a feat, Zottola plays here entirely by ear and sans sheet music. Shrewdly, Zottola does not “cop” Parker’s original improvisations. He doesn’t have to. His interpretations are musically rich, inventive and, while they shade Parker’s style and technique, they are obviously not an attempt to play Bird’s licks. One gets the immediate impression that Zottola could do that if he foolishly so desired. He’s that good getting around the horn.
There’s a very famous photograph, a close-up of Bird’s fingers gingerly grasping his alto in an almost amorous manner as his musical magic poured out. I’d bet the house that Glenn Zottola probably holds his axe in a similar way since the result here is the same.

New Release – Glenn Zottola “I cover The Waterfront”

By NICHOLAS F. MONDELLO, Published: August 4, 2015 All About Jazz 2015 views View related photos

Glenn Zottola: Miles Davis Remembered
A young musician’s mind can be so very impressionable, so capable and available to lock onto a recording, a phrase or texture and hold it. The effect is almost nuclear—one note, perfectly placed by the performer and into a young listener’s ear, can set into play a chain of music-driven events that can spawn professional careers, if not a lifelong interest in the art. Such was-and is—the case with trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, Glenn Zottola. A phenomenon in his own right.
With Miles Remembered Zottola, as he did with his prior tribute recordings of Clifford Brown, Stan Getz and Charlie Parker (all superb, by the way), Zottola offers a salute to another of his early childhood influences—Miles Davis. And, this effort is terrific.
Incorporating and recording in two accompaniment formats—a sextet and a full orchestra (both of which were previously recorded and plucked like gems mined from the exhaustive Classic Jazz Records vault), Zottola’s complete focus here shades and genuflects to Davis and his classic Prestige and early Gil Evans/Columbia period. It’s the best of all jazz worlds—great GAS material (“This Heart of Mine,” “I Cover the Waterfront,” “My Funny Valentine), highly-expressive improv, and trumpet wizardry.
Throughout the recording, Zottola demonstrates a beautiful sound, great technique and deep, musically sincere affection for Davis and this celebrated period. He wisely avoids any Miles Davis classics, direct playing imitation, or “Miles licks.” Zottola doesn’t have to; he’s an Ace player with a great sound and jazz touch (“Just You, Just Me,” “Beta Minus”). But, as any jazz trumpeter worth his valve oil would, the Davis influences on Zottola percolate effortlessly from the recesses of his mind and out the end of both his Harmon-muted or open horn.
A word about the accompaniment; as one would expect of Davis, Zottola or any performing great, the accompaniment here is A-1, swings and frames the front man fine. Zottola’s overdubbing onto the support of Jimmy Raney, Stan Getz, Ed Shaugnessy and also the All-Star orchestra is dead-on. This is not karaoke or recorda-me, by any means.
While Miles Davis was a constantly evolving jazz entity over many decades, with Miles Remembered Glenn Zottola ‘scopes a robust Davis period and in doing so does one of his idols -and himself -most proud.
Track Listing: This Heart of Mine; I’ll Be Seeing You; Jupiter; I Cover the Waterfront; Spring Is Here; Beta Minus; Autumn in New York; Just You, Just Me; My funny Valentine; Sunday.
Personnel: Glenn Zottola: trumpet; Jimmy Raney: guitar; Stan Getz: tenor saxophone; Hal McCusick: flute, clarinet; George Duvivier: bass; Ed Shaughnessy; unidentified string orchestra.
Record Label: Classic Jazz Records
Available on iTunes, Target, Amazon, CD Baby , Barnes and Noble and innercityjazz.com

New Release – Glenn Zottola “Sunday”

By NICHOLAS F. MONDELLO, Published: August 4, 2015 All About Jazz 2015 views View related photos

Glenn Zottola: Miles Davis Remembered
A young musician’s mind can be so very impressionable, so capable and available to lock onto a recording, a phrase or texture and hold it. The effect is almost nuclear—one note, perfectly placed by the performer and into a young listener’s ear, can set into play a chain of music-driven events that can spawn professional careers, if not a lifelong interest in the art. Such was-and is—the case with trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, Glenn Zottola. A phenomenon in his own right.
With Miles Remembered Zottola, as he did with his prior tribute recordings of Clifford Brown, Stan Getz and Charlie Parker (all superb, by the way), Zottola offers a salute to another of his early childhood influences—Miles Davis. And, this effort is terrific.
Incorporating and recording in two accompaniment formats—a sextet and a full orchestra (both of which were previously recorded and plucked like gems mined from the exhaustive Classic Jazz Records vault), Zottola’s complete focus here shades and genuflects to Davis and his classic Prestige and early Gil Evans/Columbia period. It’s the best of all jazz worlds—great GAS material (“This Heart of Mine,” “I Cover the Waterfront,” “My Funny Valentine), highly-expressive improv, and trumpet wizardry.
Throughout the recording, Zottola demonstrates a beautiful sound, great technique and deep, musically sincere affection for Davis and this celebrated period. He wisely avoids any Miles Davis classics, direct playing imitation, or “Miles licks.” Zottola doesn’t have to; he’s an Ace player with a great sound and jazz touch (“Just You, Just Me,” “Beta Minus”). But, as any jazz trumpeter worth his valve oil would, the Davis influences on Zottola percolate effortlessly from the recesses of his mind and out the end of both his Harmon-muted or open horn.
A word about the accompaniment; as one would expect of Davis, Zottola or any performing great, the accompaniment here is A-1, swings and frames the front man fine. Zottola’s overdubbing onto the support of Jimmy Raney, Stan Getz, Ed Shaugnessy and also the All-Star orchestra is dead-on. This is not karaoke or recorda-me, by any means.
While Miles Davis was a constantly evolving jazz entity over many decades, with Miles Remembered Glenn Zottola ‘scopes a robust Davis period and in doing so does one of his idols -and himself -most proud.
Track Listing: This Heart of Mine; I’ll Be Seeing You; Jupiter; I Cover the Waterfront; Spring Is Here; Beta Minus; Autumn in New York; Just You, Just Me; My funny Valentine; Sunday.
Personnel: Glenn Zottola: trumpet; Jimmy Raney: guitar; Stan Getz: tenor saxophone; Hal McCusick: flute, clarinet; George Duvivier: bass; Ed Shaughnessy; unidentified string orchestra.
Record Label: Classic Jazz Records
Available on iTunes, Target, Amazon, CD Baby , Barnes and Noble and innercityjazz.com

New Release – Glenn Zottola “Charlie Parker With Strings Re-Visited”

Just Friends :

CJ 32 CharlieParkerStrings.GZ cover

Glenn Zottola: Charlie Parker With Strings Revisited (2015)

By EDWARD BLANCO, Published: October 13, 2015 | 361 views View related photos

Glenn Zottola: Charlie Parker with Strings Revisited
Saxophonist and trumpeter Glenn Zottola came out of retirement from a long distinguished career, for the specific purpose of paying tribute to jazz artists who influenced his life and his music. The tribute series of albums which, include homages to Miles Davis, Clifford Brown and Stan Getz among them, concludes with a tip of the hat to the legendary Charlie Parker with a reprise of his classic Charlie Parker with Strings sessions of 1949 and 1950 capturing the romantic and melodic side of this giant. Zottola’s Charlie Parker with Strings Revisited employs new transcriptions of the original arrangements from both Mercury recordings covering nine pieces (five from the first album and four from the second), in re-visiting and re-imagining Parker’s swinging rhythms section with the help of lush string arrangements that made these recordings a personal favorite of the jazz icon.

One major difference of note here is, that Zottola chose not to simply duplicate Parker’s original solos but rather, to infuse the music with his own solo statements with, as he states, “Charlie Parker’s “spirit” in mind…” the result of course, is another captivating documentation of the “Yardbird’s” music with a decidedly Zottolian twist. Opening up with the 1931 John Klenner favorite and all-time standard “Just Friends,” introduced by the sounds of the harp and strings, provides the saxophonist his first alto solo setting the stage for what is in store. Recording the standards for Parker was a bid for greater exposure and adding the strings just made it a first among jazz artists and as such, Vernon Duke’s “April In Paris” was forever changed and here, Zottola’s treatment of the classic brings the music to life.

The Gershwin’s defining “Summertime” is recalled here quite well, though brief but beautiful, Zottola’s magical solos make it memorable. Two oft-recorded standards, “East of the Sun,” and “I Don’t Know What Time It Was,” are remembered here with much of the saxophonist’s personal style imprinted on the arrangement clearly wielding a lyrical alto. The somber and humble David Raskin/Johnny Mercer classic “Laura,” still conveys the emotional message the authors intended and this version does not change that but rather enhances the high-pitched alto in a delicate way.

The standard “I’m In the Mood for love” features Zottola in a more pronounced manner while the familiar “Everything Happens to Me,” takes on a unique charm complimented well by the strings. The saxophonist does some off his best soloing on the Schwartz/Dietz finale tune “Dancing in the Dark” leaving little doubt that this Parker tribute has an unquestioned Zottola imprint. Traditional jazz at its best, Charlie Parker with Strings Revisited takes one on a musical journey of past glory remembering one of the legends of the genre fulfilling his long-held desire to record with a string section. Alto saxophonist Glenn Zottola pays homage to a legend and one of his most memorable works with a striking musical message that may be just as memorable.
Track Listing: Just Friends; April In Paris; Summertime; East of the Sun; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; Laura; I’m In The Mood For Love; Everything Happens to Me; Dancing In The Dark.

Personnel: Glenn Zottola: alto saxophone; Mark Stalling: piano, arranger; String Section and other band members not listed.

Record Label: Classic Jazz Records

 

Classic Jazz Records Glenn Zottola Charlie Parker with Strings Revisited by Jazz Writer Nick Mondello.

Musical genius has little regard for boundaries, whether those limits are stylistic, tempo, ensemble format, or, in this example, historical precedent. Expanding on that hypothesis, when an artist such as Glenn Zottola steps into the impossible-to-wear musical Florsheims of Charlie Parker, as he does so effortlessly here, he risks everything in a zero-sum game of musical Russian roulette. The emulation is a Herculean task, a pas de deux with the Devil fraught with musical and possible critical peril.
Here, Zottola, a multi-instrumentalist and musical savant if there ever was one, places himself in a musical Lion’s Den and performs his personal stylistic renderings of Parker’s classic string sessions of 1949 and 1950. The result is a portrait of both Parker’s enormous abilities and impact on jazz to this day and also Zottola’s incredible ability to perform brilliantly at such a level of precision and artistry.
The recording features Zottola playing nine cuts from Bird’s epic Mercury Records sessions along with impeccable orchestral transcriptions of the original Jimmy Carroll and Joe Lipman arrangements. If that weren’t enough of a feat, Zottola plays here entirely by ear and sans sheet music. Shrewdly, Zottola does not “cop” Parker’s original improvisations. He doesn’t have to. His interpretations are musically rich, inventive and, while they shade Parker’s style and technique, they are obviously not an attempt to play Bird’s licks. One gets the immediate impression that Zottola could do that if he foolishly so desired. He’s that good getting around the horn.
There’s a very famous photograph, a close-up of Bird’s fingers gingerly grasping his alto in an almost amorous manner as his musical magic poured out. I’d bet the house that Glenn Zottola probably holds his axe in a similar way since the result here is the same.

From the Liner Notes – About this album :
Charlie Parker has been referred to as the Mozart of Jazz. He had a tremendous love for Classical Music and In 1949 jazz history was made when Charlie Parker went into the studio and recorded an album with strings the first time any jazz player had recorded with strings. There were 2 sessions released on 10 inch LPs one in 1949 with 6 songs and another session in 1950 with 8 songs. These 9 songs are culled from both sessions. Much like my earlier Clifford Brown album this album is truly from my heart and what a joy to be able to re-visit this historic recording. These are all my own solos with Charlie Parkers “spirit” in mind using transcriptions of the original arrangements from those sessions. I simply just wanted to see what it would of felt like had I walked in the studio that eventful day. Of course having Charlie Parker open the door and point the way is priceless. Another thing I loved about this album was how it displayed the romantic side of Charlie Parker and his aesthetic and melodic beauty and I wanted to attempt to get that across in my playing. I want to thank Irv Kratka the president of Classic Jazz records for giving me the opportunity to do this project and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Glenn Zottola
Available on iTunes, CD Baby , Target , Barnes and Noble and innercityjazz.com

 

JAZZ WEEKLY

Glenn Zottola: Charlie Parker with Strings Revisited
by George W. Harris • December 3, 2015 •

Glenn Zottola has had an impressive career serving as a sideman on trumpet, tenor and alto sax for artists ranging from Benny Goodman to Chick Corea. Here, he reaches into the heart of bebop founder Charlie Parker and focuses on the rarely appreciated side of the artist, that of a romantic. Zottola takes the original transcriptions of the historic 1949-50 recordings and breaths a fresh life into them. His sound is warmer and clearer than Bird’s, so that’s a major plus, while his solos and melodic statements are on a par with the originator.

The sweetness and freshness that mix between strings and horn are in abundance here. The lithe freedom of “April in Paris,” or pensive dreaminess of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” is captured perfectly by Zottola, while “Summertime” is a dramatic aria and “Laura” is fit for Dana Andrews. Zottola’s sound embraces you like a rippling wave foaming at the shore. If you don’t have the original, try this one instead for an intro to a sound that changed American recordings.

Classic Jazz Records

http://www.innercityjazz.com