Friday, December 14, 2012

Trumpeter Bob Zottola's jazz quartet was sublime

Bob Zottola and his "secret weapon"
Naples-based trumpeter Bob Zottola was a marvel today in his appearance at the South County Jazz Club's Englewood Art Center jazz series, working in splendid fashion with pianist Michael Royal, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Henry Ettman.

Zottola, a former big band and Broadway shows trumpeter in New York (he spent 16 years in the pit band for "Les Miserables"), has a knack for embellishing a tune's melody without ever sounding like he's overplaying. His soloing is always tasty and creative.

Besides trumpet, flugelhorn and assorted mutes, Zottola also employed on several tunes something he referred to as his "secret weapon." It was a purple sack in which Crown Royal whiskey is packaged. He put over the bell of the trumpet on exuberant tunes. He said he finds it handy in small rooms because "it takes the edge of the trumpet," something that jazz lovers in the front row or two can appreciate.

Highlights: "I Can't Get Started," the band's tribute version of late pianist Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," Don Mopsick's bass and vocal feature on "I'm Confessin' That I Love You" and Michael Royal's feature: a hornless exploration of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most."

Oh, there was one more dandy: the band's exploration of Luis Bonfa's "A Day in the Life of a Fool" from the movie "Black Orpheus." (Zottola kiddingly introduced it as as "musicians' theme song," but all of his sidemen then said they would rather be doing nothing else for careers.)
Bob Zottola, Henry Ettman, Don Mopsick, Michael Royal

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