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Glenn Zottola: Miles Davis Remembered

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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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.

Title: Miles Davis Remembered | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Classic Jazz Records

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