Zvonimir Tot

Zvonimir Tot

Instrument: Guitar | Location: Chicago

Zvonimir Tot (is) an exceptional jazz guitarist. The fluidity of his technique, the bent-note expressiveness of his pitch and the sleekly melodic quality of his improvisations have earned him wide admiration.
—Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

Updated: May 14, 2021

Zvonimir Tot (z-VON-e-mere TOTE) is a Chicago-based jazz guitarist, composer and arranger with a style deeply rooted in the jazz tradition but flavored by his European origin. He holds too many university degrees. Tot has performed in the United States, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Macedonia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, and Spain. He has performed and/or recorded with many world-renowned musicians, including:

- Saxophonists Chris Potter, Scott Hamilton, Billy Harper, Jamey Aebersold, Eric Alexander, and Peter King
- Violinists Johnny Frigo and Stefan Milenković
- Drummers Ernie Adams, Paul Wertico and Byron Landham
- Bassists Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and John Clayton
- Pianists Larry Novak and Larry Vuckovich
- Harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy
- Guitarists Philip Catherine, Henry Johnson, and Paulinho Garcia
- Organists Joey DeFrancesco and Bobby Floyd
- Vocalists Patricia Barber, Jackie Allen, and Carmen Lundy

Zvonimir Tot is a Clinical Associate Professor of Music at University of Illinois at Chicago and currently teaches jazz guitar, harmony, and ear training. Tot has recorded six CDs as a leader: Sarabande Blue (Groove Art Records, 2021), Standards Live at the Jazz Showcase (Groove Art Records, 2016), Eloquent Silence (Chicago Sessions, 2009), Unspoken Desire (Groove Art Records, 2007), Blue Quest (Groove Art Records, 2007), and Travels and Dreams (Groove Art Records, 2004), as well as numerous CDs as a sideman

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The debut of Tot's Stringtet, an ensemble several years in development, is a gift from a musical artist who has integrated his experiences and accomplishments in a most gratifying way – providing us passage to the state of mind where genre definitions fade as the sheer, sweet beauty of gracefully flowing sound abounds. Howard Mandel, jazz critic and author

(...) Zvonimir Tot (is) an exceptional jazz guitarist. The fluidity of his technique, the bent-note expressiveness of his pitch and the sleekly melodic quality of his improvisations have earned him wide admiration. Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

When he improvises, Zvonimir evidences many things, from the intensity of a conservatory virtuoso to the serene patience of a Zen guru, and always, the love of lore that characterizes griots and troubadours the world over. Neil Tesser, Grammy award-winning jazz critic; author, Playboy Guide to Jazz

Zvonimir Tot (...) has a cool tone, a fluent style, and is a subtle improviser who hints at a great deal of inner heat. Scott Yanow, jazz critic and author

​I know aspiring guitarists will love this book. Jazz guitar master Larry Coryell about the book Jazz Guitar Harmony - The Melodic Approach


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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


https://www.zt-music.com/lessons I teach a limited number of private students at locations in Chicago, western suburbs and via Zoom or Skype. I have over 30 years of teaching experience at all levels. If you want to major in jazz guitar, you may be able to study with me at University of Illinois-Chicago Please contact me for details. Current position: Clinical Associate Professor of Music, University of Illinois at Chicago. Education: Doctor of Musical Arts (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Master of Music (Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois), Bachelor of Music (Amsterdam Conservatory, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Bachelor of Music (Franz Liszt Academy of Musical Arts, Budapest, Hungary).

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Pat Martino
Chet Baker
Mike Stern
guitar, electric
Sonny Stitt
Kenny Burrell
guitar, electric
Ennio Morricone


Groove Me Wah

From: Sarabande Blue
By Zvonimir Tot

Jungle Walk

From: Travels and Dreams
By Zvonimir Tot

Just a Closer Walk With Thee

From: Blue Quest
By Zvonimir Tot

Zvonimir Tot Albums