Glenn Zottola: Clifford Brown Remembered

About this album: It was 1961 and I was 13 years old. I was about to perform on my first major jazz gig at the Atlantic City Jazz Festival on the bill with Dinah Washington, Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson and Art Blakey. I remember vividly like yesterday looking out from the wings of that stage waiting to go on mesmerized seeing Dinah Washington singing. During this same time I was introduced to the Clifford Brown/Neil Hefti string album by my brother Bob which changed my musical life. Clifford was my first major influence on trumpet after Louis Armstrong and ironically he did classic recordings with Dinah Washington so everything seem to be melding together stylistically for me at this point in my life. I wore out the LP of "Clifford with Strings" listening to it every night to go to sleep before school the next day. He had such warmth in his sound something he was known for as Dinah Washington's lyrics state so beautifully in "I Remember Clifford". Also he had wonderful way of articulating on the trumpet playful at times. Clifford like Charlie Parker earlier had incredible technique but similarly to Charlie Parker's historic string album prior showed so such maturity, economy and beauty with his simple interpretations of the melody. I want to thank my brother Bob for all his input and help in doing this album and Irv Kratka for giving me the opportunity to fulfill a dream with my interpretations of these beautiful Neil Hefti arrangements in this tribute to Clifford Brown.

There is one other point not talked about much, Clifford was a clean cut sweet family man who didn't use drugs and that came through his music which was changing the perception of the jazz musician of the day. The last song on this album is not from the original string album and is Benny Golson’s “I Remember Clifford” which I combined with Dinah Washington’s 1957 recording shortly after his death. It’s very emotional for me coming full circle from that 13 year old boy in the wings watching Dinah to 52 years later doing this album and I hope you enjoy as much as I did. Thank you Clifford for showing me the way and all you gave to us in such a short time and you are not forgotten.

With Love,

Glenn Zottola


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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

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: CD Only
Soloist/Artist Glenn Zottola
Instruments All Instruments , Vocal - Low Voice
Composer Glenn Zottola, Clifford Brown, Neil Hefti
Accompanist/ Conductor Glenn Zottola


Customer Reviews (4)

Lush, Brilliant and Brownie!Review by Big Toots
It’s no secret among jazz musicians that, as much as they enjoy stretching out over a speedball tempoed selection, almost to a person they’d tell you that they would love to make a recording with a lush string section behind them. None less than Bird himself - Charlie Parker set a standard for all with his classic effort, Charlie Parker with Strings (Mercury Records, 1950) It produced by - of all people - that “singalong” sultan, Mitch Miller, who also played oboe on the Parker session!). Multi-instrumentalist Glenn Zottola will indeed tell you that, as much of an influence Louis Armstrong was and is on his fine trumpeting, he, Zottola, spent many a sleepless nights endlessly listening to a turntable spinning Clifford Brown with Strings (EmArcy, 1955), Brownie’s classic strings album. While Clifford blew gorgeous tones, Zottola dreamed of one day saluting a trumpet idol. With Clifford Brown Remembered Zottola does just that – and does so brilliantly.
Zottola achieves a near-impossible achievement on this sublime effort. He has, with incredible interpretive shadings - re-created the entire Brown recording nearly note-for-note without written music. And, he performed the session completely from memory! Further, the original Neal Hefti arrangements used by Brown were transcribed also note-for-note by ear by this album’s arranger.
The album follows the sequence of the original recording with Zottola’s lush and highly emotionally-charged tone covering the Brown ballad takes. He simply doesn’t miss. He soars as he salutes the gone-way-too-soon Brown on a dozen Great American Songbook selections (“Laura,” “Stardust,” Willow Weep for Me”). There’s tons of emotion here as Brown’s original interpretations are further interpreted – not mimed – by another Master trumpeter. The strings and rhythm section employed here are a perfect platform for Zottola’s lyric style.
With Clifford Brown Remembered Glenn Zottola distinguishes himself not only as an adoring acolyte and student of Greatness, but also as a marvelous master of the trumpet.
(Posted on 4/23/2015)
GOTTA LOVE THIS OVERLOOKED GUY…Glenn Zottola: Clifford Brown Remembered, A Jazz Life-Glenn Zottola’s StoryReview by George W. Harris
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! (Posted on 6/30/2014)
From jazzpensacola.comReview by F. Norman Vickers
On this CD, Glenn Zottola performs his interpretation of the Clifford Brown album. The original charts from the Brown album were available. The Neal Hefti arrangements included six violins, two violas and a cello. Zottola interprets these lovely ballads plus a version of Benny Golson’s “I Remember Clifford.” Liner notes are also by Scott Yanow with an additional note from Mr.Zottola. More info is available at: www.GlennZottola.com.

Both recordings are highly recommended. They’ve been on my turntable on numerous occasions. (Posted on 6/10/2014)
Glenn Zottola: Clifford Brown Remembered (2014) Review by NICHOLAS F. MONDELLO www.allaboutjazz.com
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 Great American Standards ("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 (Posted on 5/6/2014)

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