Attila Zoller by Tom Karol

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Prepared Guitar, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. Prepared Guitar

    Prepared Guitar Member

    Aug 26, 2014
    Attila Zoller (1927-1998) - A Personal Remembrance


    I first met Attila Zoller in the mid 70’s. I was in my 20’s and hadn’t yet abandoned the idea of music as a full time career. I had graduated from Middlebury College and then spent a few years studying guitar and composition at Berklee. I was working a regular job, but still very committed to music and performing. At some point I happened to notice a little announcement in Guitar Player magazine saying that Attila Zoller would be conducting week-long guitar workshops at his home in Newfane, Vermont in the summer. I was somewhat familiar with Attila. I had seen him perform as part of Herbie Mann’s group about 10 years earlier, and I even had one of his albums (Gypsy Cry). At any rate, I knew he was in the top echelon of jazz guitarists. On top of that, Southern Vermont was one of my favorite places - my family had a ski house near Bromley Mountain, less than 30 minutes from Newfane. I figured this would be the perfect summer vacation week! I would stay at the house in Vermont and study guitar with one of the best players in the world. I called Attila, and made the arrangements.

    There was only one other student scheduled for the week I attended. He was less advanced than I was at the time, so here’s how we worked out the schedule: He was staying at Attila’s house (the old one, but before the top was expanded) - that was the norm for these workshops. So, he would have an extended private lesson each morning and then practice in the afternoon. I was staying at the family ski house, so I would practice in the morning and come over to Attila’s just after lunch. We would do my lesson in the afternoon, take a few hours break for dinner (which Attila would expertly prepare), and then jam ‘till after midnight. This went on for 5 days in a row!

    Needless to say, this was quite a memorable experience for a young aspiring musician. And while I already knew Attila was a world-class guitar player, I had the extreme good fortune to find out what a wonderfully genuine and generous human being he was as well. For the next few years, whenever I was in Vermont (at least 2 or 3 times a year, anyway), I would make sure to stop by and see him - a visit which always included extended jamming. By the way, Attila would play with anyone at any time. Many times, other people were visiting and playing at the same time I was there - and not just guitarists, or even just jazz cats. I recall somebody who played a bunch of small homemade percussion instruments and someone else who played a guitar with drumsticks and a miniature violin bow. Meanwhile, I’m there trying to play this repeating harmonic minor bass figure in 5-against-4, while Attila is going on extended melodic journeys while punctuating the whole thing with soft grunts and quiet cries of, “Yeah, man!” It just doesn’t get any better than that!

    Thanks to Tom Karol for the permission to post this article about Attila Zoller.

    Always welcome any collaboration
    Read the whole article here
    PREPARED GUITAR: Attila Zoller by Tom Karol

    Plus a concert with Jim Hall
    PREPARED GUITAR: Jim Hall Attila Zoller 1992 Workshop
  2. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
    One of my favorite musical experiences was seeing Zoller with a pickup rhythm section at Gregory's in NY in the late 70's. Just a brilliant player with huge ears and an amazingly broad musical pallet.
  3. KRosser

    KRosser Member

    Oct 15, 2004
    Pasadena, CA
    I couldn't possibly agree more

    Jim, do you know Zoller's solo guitar record? So beautiful...
  4. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Center Line MI
    On that group number it's really cool how he finds so many shades of timing between triplets and straight eighths.
  5. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2005
    New York
    A great guy and player and occasionally brilliant pickup inventor.
    He was a friend too ... once played with him AND Jimmy Raney in Attila`s Queens apt. !!!
  6. Dumdeediddle

    Dumdeediddle Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2012
    Thank you for mentioning him. Wonderful Player. 1st heard him many many decades ago. I would think from my Guitar Teacher at maybe 16/17 years. Our Teacher introduced us to many Guitarists : Attila/Burrell/Howard Roberts/Coryell/Herb Ellis.
    If you haven't heard these guys ,check them out. Much to learn.

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