Glenn Zottola | Reflections of Charlie Parker

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Reflections of Charlie Parker

by Glenn Zottola

Glenn Zottola reinterprets classic Charlie Parker tunes.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Moonlight in Vermont
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3:41 $0.99
2. Oh, Lady Be Good!
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3:01 $0.99
3. It Might as Well Be Spring
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3:18 $0.99
4. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
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4:08 $0.99
5. What Is This Thing Called Love?
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3:22 $0.99
6. I'm in the Mood for Love
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4:05 $0.99
7. Embraceable You
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3:11 $0.99
8. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
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4:30 $0.99
9. I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful!)
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2:25 $0.99
10. Three Little Words
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2:41 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
I would like to say something about this “tribute”. Webster’s definition of tribute is “something given, done or said to show gratitude, respect, honor, or praise”. This album is not a re-creation of anything Charlie Parker did which would be pretentious and silly on my part. Bob Wilber once told me Charlie Parker was the last great swing player and true enough if you listen to his early recordings with Jay McShann, you will hear he is straight out of Lester Young. I did many festivals with Jay and spoke to him about Charlie Parker who was in his teens when he played in Jay’s band. Actually there is a Charlie Parker solo where he quotes the entire intro to Louis Armstrong’s ground breaking “West End Blues” from the 1920s so his roots go back for sure and Charlie Parker was one of the great improvisors of the 20th century along with Louis Armstrong in my opinion. What I would like to pay tribute to is how he “culled together” everything before him making it work in whatever setting he was in, putting a glorious final stamp on what was the Golden Age of Jazz that started with Louis Armstrong in the 1920s and ended with Parker in 1950 which was the great Renaissance in Jazz that sadly America has still not acknowledged. He was most known for his small group playing and the inventor of “be-bop” with Dizzy Gillespie but oddly enough he himself was most proud of his playing with strings. I think that is where he was going and he wanted to study with classical composers and had he not had the personal problems that sadly ended his life way before its time, I believe some of his best music was to follow.

Being an ear player myself and self taught on the saxophone I never transcribed or even copied anyones solo which is certainly not a bad thing to do, but I did listen and that is something I want to impart to the student and it’s not just listening but what you listen for. You may think it’s strange that I draw similarities of Charlie Parker to Louis Armstrong. Tony Bennett once said Louis Armstrong set the standard for phrasing for all popular singers, a pretty heavy statement. Louie embellished the melody and where he put the “time” nobody had done prior. Great saxophonist Bud Freeman who I also played with said when Louie first came to Chicago in the 1920s he and Bix Beiderbecke and others went to see this “new guy in town”. At first he said they couldn’t understand what he was doing with the time as they never heard anyone lay back behind the beat like that. Eventually they fell in love with the way Louie placed the “time” and “swung”. Louie himself said “I always play with 2 bands the one I am playing with and the one in my head” as obviously it all came from inside as he had nothing before him to draw off the way he approached jazz. It would behoove the student regardless of what style you want to play to go back to the “founding fathers” and listen as it could only enhance your style and whatever jazz you want to create. Much like any classical player who would certainly listen to Bach and Mozart along with Bartok and Stravinsky. As glorious as it may seem jazz did not start with John Coltrane and he would be the first to tell you that. So back to Charlie Parker. He took everything before him including Louie’s time and swing along with what Lester Young did with it and took his own “embellishments” of the melody up to a higher harmonic and rhythmic level with what some call “Bird Flights” but he never lost his sense of swing and melodic approach.

Most important to me is “Bird’s” aesthetic and beauty in everything he played whether it was fast or slow and that comes from the soul which is so evident in his string album. Just listen to his ground breaking intro on “Just Friends” on his string album total aesthetic beauty. Great Be-Bop pianist and teacher Barry Harris once said Charlie Parker’s lines which were very advanced worked with standard chord changes, a real testament to his genius. Also Charlie Parker in many ways took Jazz from the dance hall to the concert hall. The two major influences for me in creating my own jazz style was Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker, the alpha and omega in jazz in my opinion. Miles Davis summarized jazz in two names Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. If you just listen and get the concept of how Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker approached music as improvisors in a “general sense” it will organically seep into your own style and that is all I did. Basically with this tribute I just wanted to acknowledge Charlie Parker in my own way for pointing the way for all of us.

Glenn Zottola


to write a review

George W. Harris

Glenn Zottola "Reflections Of Charlie Parker"
Glenn Zottola: Reflections of Charlie Parker
by George W. Harris • July 21, 2014 • 0 Comments

Long time altomeister Glenn Zottola delivers a tribute to, but not an impersonation of, Charlie Parker on this collection of standards. Sometimes with strings,as on “Moonlight in Vermont,” other times with a gentle rhythm team as displayed on “Oh, Lady Be Good!”, Zottola is the audio picture of style, class and grace. Not emphasizing the bebop side of Bird as much as lyrical swinger-people forget that Parker was a romantic KCer at heart, and Zottola’s takes of “Embraceable You” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” focuses on that obscured side of the bebop icon. Well conceived!
Classic Jazz Records

Nick Mondello

Glenn Zottola "Reflections Of Charlie Parker" by Nick Mondello
Glenn Zottola – Reflections of Charlie Parker by Nick Mondello
For a man known for excesses of all kinds – musical and behavioral – Charlie Parker had the most unique way of ending his improvised phrases. Ever notice that? Some ended biting and abrupt, others were long tone vibratoed or they cascaded down a scale by way of his magnificent fingers. It was as if he was letting his genius-generated ideas fly off like bubbles from a child’s soap bubble wand here, there and everywhere. They’re for listeners to absorb and be touched. Now, listen to Glenn Zottola here on Reflections of Charlie Parker, this splendid ten tune Parker tribute. He exhibits a similar improvisational sense but that’s just one of the interesting jewels to be found on this superior recording.
For those who might not be aware, Zottola is not only a talented multi-instrumentalist, playing trumpet and alto and tenor saxophones, but, he’s been a child prodigy, talent show winner, musical director, music biz entrepreneur, composer – you name it and name who he’s performed with, just see the Encyclopedia of Jazz for starters. So, it’s no surprise that Zottola, always looking for new musical vistas, would select one of jazz’s greatest artists to salute here.
The Zottola alto sound is an engaging and inviting one. Sweeter than harsh, smoother than biting, it’s the perfect sonic platform for the GAS ballad material offered (“Moonlight in Vermont,” “Embraceable You”). Listen to and soak up his lyrical, gorgeous take on “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” (Yes, Mother, he’s played with Frank. Can’t you tell?). Wisely, Zottola understands both Parker’s awesome technical skills and his own substantial chops (“I May Be Wrong”). Thus, on the up-tempo material here (“Oh, Lady Be Good,” “Three Little Words”) Zottola swings without attempting to imitate the inimitable (Although a keen ear will catch a slick Bird lick or two). One other point of interest that solidifies Zottola’s incredible talent: as both a trumpeter and a saxophonist, he never, not here or anywhere else I’ve heard him, plays the saxophone with a trumpeter’s mindset (and vice versa). Now that’s something that Bird, Diz and Miles would really dig. They’d dig Reflections of Charlie Parker, too!