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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 (in production, 2019-2020), 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. Tot is also the author of the book Jazz Guitar Harmony – The Melodic Approach, published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz in 2016. Zvonimir Tot has been appointed as Fulbright Specialist in 2018. He is an endorsing artist for Godin electric/MIDI guitars, Taylor acoustic guitars, D'Addario strings, Acoustic Image amplifiers and Raezer's Edge speakers.
I know aspiring guitarists will love this book.
Jazz guitar master Larry Coryell about the book Jazz Guitar Harmony - The Melodic Approach
Mr. Tot's harmonic knowledge goes deep and is evidenced by the ease with which he plays. I can hear the jazz masters in his playing and the admiration he has for all guitarists of stature that have come before him.
The foremost jazz educator Jamey Aebersold about the book Jazz Guitar Harmony - The Melodic Approach
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
”Tot himself is diverse, selective and a master of the strings.”
George W. Harris, JazzWeekly.com
(Tot's) haunting reading of guitarist Luis Bonfá's masterpiece "Black Orpheus" shimmers with lyricism as his strings sparkle in the expectant silent pauses.
Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine
Tot keeps one-upping himself with every disc he puts out, and Eloquent Silence is a fantastic example of just how brilliant a guitarist, writer and arranger he is.(from the CD review of "Eloquent Silence")
...Blue Quest is always grooving, from first note to last. (...) All in all, this is a spectacular disc...
Paul Abella, Chicago Jazz Magazine
Tot's compositions spin a web of musical eloquence that is both engaging and intellectually provocative. (His) virtuosic chops and strong sense of melody shine throughout.
Dr. Matthew Warnock, AllAboutJazz.com
His “Lady Agatha,” (…) has a deliberate delicacy, a ballad that unfolds at a measured pace, with Tot's playing glowing with a beautifully ethereal quality.
Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
...Tot throws out some greasy guitar licks that are simply fantastic.
Dan Bilawsky, Jazz Improv Magazine
(Z.T.) ...is an extrovert soloist who plays from the heart. He improvises with a typical Balkan singing quality, an intense feeling for the blues, rich imagination, and unbelievably fast fingers.
Jeroen de Valk, Dutch jazz critic, Het Parool, Amsterdam
...Travels and Dreams is a remarkable disc and Zvonimir Tot is someone deserving far greater recognition.
Rich Friedman, All About Jazz
Zvonimir Tot's rapid fire guitar sets the pace in this fine ensemble. His ballad style also highlights this recording with soulful elegance. (...) 4 stars.
John Gilbert, ejazznews.com
His sound is inspired by all, from Kenny Burrell to Pat Metheny but yet distinctly his own.
Marshall Vente, Jazz Institute of Chicago
Tot is an inspirational player of the guitar; (...) his largamente style feels like one big stretch.
Ferdinand Maylin, JazzNow
Such beautiful music from some scary looking guys.
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