Zvonimir Tot: Travels and Dreams (2004)
What makes jazz so vibrant is its sponge-like ability to incorporate different styles and cultural perspectives. On Travels and Dreams guitarist and composer Zvonimir Tot, who now calls Chicago home, skillfully mines his Eastern European roots and virtuoso technique to produce an especially appealing mix of ballads, bop, funk, bossa nova and bluesy originals. A team of trumpeter Art Davis, bassist Nick Tountas, and Rusty Jones, on drums, the quartet delivers tunes that are skillfully composed, packed solid with rich imagination, and most importantly, a delight to hear.
Take, for example, “Song for my Mother (Pesma Za Moju Majku)," a melodic duo on which Tot and Tountas trade relaxed solos. Another outstanding ballad, “The Rainbow Bridge,” in 3/4 time, showcases the solo talent of all the quartet’s members. The pace picks up substantially on “King’s Ransom,” a burner featuring Zvonimor’s dynamic chord changes and devilishly quick single-note vamps. On “A Sketch for Libby,” a short three-minute tune, Zvonimir, finds a way to include a variety of styles: gypsy folk music, American blues, and a small touch of flamenco.
Because of his eclectic style it’s impossible to compare Zvonimir to other great jazz guitarist such as Joe Pass, Jesse van Ruller, Bucky Pizzarelli, Joshua Breakstone, or Pat Metheny. Suffice it to say that Travels and Dreams is a remarkable disc and Zvonimir Tot is someone deserving far greater recognition.
Track Listing: 1-Jungle Walk 2-Magician's Kingdom 3-Pamela's song 4-Voda Zvira 5-Maki 6-The Poet 7-Song for my Mother 8-The Rainbow Bridge 9-King's Ranson 10-A Sketch for Libby 11-Who Shot the Guitarist? 12-Arsen
Personnel: Zvonimir Tot, guitar; Art Davis, trumpet; Rusty Jones, drums; Nick Tountas, bass.