Glenn Zottola plays: Classic Arrangements

Any album that pays homage to the music associated with the “Chairman of the Board,” must be carefully designed for Frank Sinatra is a one-of-kind icon leaving his mark on American culture and history. Glenn Zottola’s Alto/Sinatra does exactly that, performing the music of Sinatra in an instrumental album where the saxophonist plays the featured role, a vocal role of sorts, fitting within his concept of “singing through the horn,” where on this album—through his alto saxophone voice—Zottola becomes Sinatra. Zottola grew up in a musical family listening to Sinatra and watching his TV shows during the 60s. The voicing through the horn concept of this album was born in the early years where his father, a classical music conductor, played opera music at home leaving an impact on the young future musician.

Alto saxophonist Charlie “Yardbird” Parker served as one of Zottola’s main influences throughout his career, leading to his tribute album Reflections of Charlie Parker but, it was Parker’s playing in big band settings that inspired Zottola to integrate this approach to the Sinatra project. Thus is born Alto/Sinatra, an instrumental jazz album of music from the Sinatra songbook. The main feature: an alluring lead alto saxophone, the support: an amazing big band topped off by an occasional string section—all producing a sophisticated mature jazz sound that the Chairman himself would be proud of.

Zottola is one of the few jazz musicians to have had the pleasure of performing with Sinatra and did so on television playing alongside saxophonist Tommy Newsome, trumpeter Edward “Snooky” Young and the entire Tonight Show NBC Orchestra in a one-session dream come true. Deciding what to record from the lengthy Sinatra repertoire was not easy however, noting that Sinatra used some of the greatest arrangers for his music, Zottola chose a few of the legend’s greatest hits with arrangements from such song masters like Nelson Riddle, Quincy Jones, Billy May, Don Costa and Torrie Zito.

Educating the audience with Gene De Paul’s classic “Teach Me Tonight,” Glenn kicks off the music in strong fashion delivering one alto solo after another as if he were voicing the words of the song with each note. Sammy Cahn—who wrote the lyrics—penned a verse for Sinatra’s 1984 recording of the song for his L.A. Is My Lady album with Quincy Jones Orchestra. The 1946 Matt Dennis popular standard “Angel Eyes” is delivered here with an arrangement from Nelson Riddle providing a stage for Zottola’s tender alto to sing lightly on one string-backed beautiful rendition of the standard. In 1971, Sinatra closed his then farewell concert with the song. Thankfully, his retirement lasted a mere two years.

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Teach Me Tonight Angel Eyes Come Rain Or Come Shine You Make Me Feel So Young Don't Worry 'Bout Me Try A Little Tenderness If I Should Lose You Autumn in NY Street of Dreams

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: CD Only
Soloist/Artist Glenn Zottola
Instruments Sax/Alto
Composer Various
Accompanist/ Conductor Various


Customer Reviews (2)

Classic ArrangementsReview by Jazz Weekly
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 CJ 32 with Strings, and another tribute to Clifford Brown with Strings CJ 6. How many artists today could pull THAT off?!? Now, he’s just released five, count ‘em, five new ones. Dig in!!!

Zottolla 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. (Posted on 11/23/2015)
"As Tasty As It Gets!"Review by Big Toots
CJ 12 Glenn Zottola Plays Classic Arrangements

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!
(Posted on 8/13/2015)

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