Glenn Zottola & Chick Corea
The Legend & I
(Audio Verse Music)
Glenn Zottola, one of the few jazz artists to be equally skilled on trumpet and saxophones (tenor and alto), gained fame in the jazz world during the late 1970s and ‘80s, mostly as a hot swing-based trumpeter. He worked with Bob Wilbur’s Bechet Legacy, led a string of rewarding solo recordings, and along the way played and/or recorded with Benny Goodman, Butch Miles, Peanuts Hucko, Steve Allen, Maxine Sullivan, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims and Joe Williams among others. After working as the musical director for Suzanne Somers (including for her television variety show), he went into semi-retirement but fortunately never stopped playing.
Zottola became very good friends with Chick Corea around 2000 and during the next two decades they frequently jammed together. There was talk of Zottola touring with Corea, but although that never happened, tapes were made of some of their jams. The Legend & I consists of a few of their better collaborations. While some of the performances date back to the early 2000s (the exact dates are not given on the CD), these versions of ‘Skylark,” “Crystal Silence,” “Z-Mother Test Project,” and “Moog 1 Arp Project” are among the very last (possibly the final) recordings made by Corea, who passed away on Feb. 9, 2021.
The set begins with “But Not For Me” as played by the co-leaders plus bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Adam Cruz. Zottola takes fine solos on both muted trumpet and alto-sax. The duo of Zottola on tenor and Corea perform a rare version of the keyboardist’s classic ballad “Crystal Silence.” “Autumn Leaves” may at first seem conventional with Zottola contributing some fine trumpet, but it also features Corea (via overdubbing) on marimba, bass and drums (each of which he plays quite credibly) rather than piano. “Z-Mother Test Project” finds the co-leaders improvising quite freely and with plenty of energy, clearly having fun in each other’s musical company.
“Skylark” is given a beautiful statement by Zottola on tenor (sounding a bit like Stan Getz) and Corea on acoustic piano. “Mood 1 Arp Project” is another mostly free improv, “You Go To My Head” is a feature for Zottola on tenor while “Gliden Not Haydn” is a high-powered outing for the quartet with Cohen and Cruz. Corea and the rhythm section really push and challenge Zottola who responds with competitive fire on alto and trumpet.
As a bonus track, there is a second version of “Crystal Silence” that was recorded after Corea’s passing. Zottola plays warmly on tenor, guitarist Romero Lubambo provides tasteful accompaniment along with a solo, and Pamela Driggs sings Corea’s rarely-heard lyrics.
It is very good to hear Glenn Zottola back on record again, and to have this final chapter in the remarkable Chick Corea story. The Legend & I is available from www.audioversemusic.com.
I have been so fortunate in my career to become friends with and make music with many legends. Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Gerry Mulligan just to name a few. There is one living legend in Jazz who is still at the top of his game and who is also a dear friend, Chick Corea, who is up for 5 Grammys this year 2013 and 62 lifetime nominations tied with John Williams just behind Quincy Jones and Henry Mancini which for someone who has dedicated himself to art and jazz his whole life is beyond belief. I am quite honored that Chick approved posting of these tracks below that I would like to include someday in an anthology of my life’s work. Interesting story on this first tune “But Not For Me”, and why jazz is such an amazing art form. I get a call one night from Chick late and he says “what are you doing?”, I say I am tired and going to bed. He says “why don’t you grab your horns and come over the house”, which I did as when someone at the level of Chick Corea requests your presence you don’t say no as it is like getting a call from Mozart ! So I show up at his house and he has his trio there who I never met before and he has been rehearsing for a tour. He says graciously “what do you want to play” and I say how about “But Not For Me” the Miles Davis arrangement. We do one take and then a second tune “Walkin” and I pack up and go back home and go to bed. The next day Chick hands me a tape as he recorded it and this is what I hear below. This music is of the highest level aesthetically. Enjoy! Glenn
But Not For Me
The following tracks follow the trio session and are some “casual” sessions we did at Chicks house very unique as you will here Chick not on Piano but playing Drums with the flavor of Elvin Jones and Marimba on Autumn Leaves !! The bass player is the great Avishai Cohen who was the bassist in Chicks trio at the time. This is the way I started musicians getting together and truly “playing” for no other purpose than having fun and communicating with with each other. I am playing alto, tenor and trumpet. Enjoy it as I did ! Glenn
Another track “Everything Happens To Me” with me playing tenor and alto , Avishai Cohen on bass and Chick on drums .
Everything Happens To Me :
A little “quip” here and had to put it on as such amazing piano playing from Chick reminding of an album Art Tatum did with Ben Webster.
Don’t blame me :
Quite awhile back I asked Chick to make me a track to overdub when I first started experimenting with Tenor. He came back from tour and said he heard Sonny Rollins play this song and thought about me which was very nice. He did this track all by himself off the cuff for me playing drums and everything else and gave me a tape to play with.
They Say That Falling In love Is Wonderful :