Outtakes: Bob Zottola

BY January 20, 2012

I interviewed Bob Zottola, local jazz legend, for Gulfshore Life’s Don’t Miss It! interview in January’s “Insider.” He’s the type of person you can talk to for an hour and it seems like minutes, and we did speak for quite a while. Lucky for you guys, I’ve decided to let you in on the rest of the convo.  (

What makes the trumpet a tough instrument to play?
Anybody can walk over to (a piano) and strike a couple of notes and it will sound beautiful. You won’t be able to play a piano concerto, but it will sound beautiful because inherently it sounds beautiful. But the trumpet doesn’t make any sound at all. It’s all in the lips and the air.

Is there a difference playing for a crowd in Naples verses a crowd in NYC?
There is a difference playing down here in Naples because, at least when I came down, the demographic was very much my audience. Some of them actually grew up with the music I’m playing and they have recall of it. Whether it’s something as far back as the Benny Goodman concert at Carnegie Hall, which was a huge event, there are some that actually lived through that. So, the demographic down here did lend itself to jazz and swing, mainstream jazz music that I favor.

What was your best musical moment?
My best musical moment? Oh, boy. Well, I’ve had so many nice ones. In terms of back in New York, playing with Sinatra and going on concert tours with him that was very, very much of a high point. Playing West Side Story, which in my estimation is perhaps the best musical of all time, on Broadway; I did that for a year and a half. The Chick Corea tour was something very spectacular; we traveled all over the world. And what I’m doing now. I’m enjoying the live performances that I do in the various restaurants and cafes that I play in.

What was your worst musical moment?
They’re so many, and I mean they’re minor, but to myself they’re embarrassing. I can remember playing a Broadway show and at the very end I said, ‘I’m going to take this up and play a high note at the end.’ It wasn’t even written, and it cracked. That was humiliating, but its par for the course, especially with the trumpet, as I explained earlier, it’s not like pressing a key.

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