"Does Anyone Remember Conrad Gozzo?"


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Conrad Gozzo
In response to the Rifftides post about the death of Al Porcino, reader Dick Vartanian sent a comment:

I remember Al Porcino well and had deep regard for his playing. But does anyone remember a equally great countryman of his named Conrad Gozzo?

Jack Greenberg responded with this:

Everyone who is my age (70 years old) and plays trumpet remembers Conrad Gozzo. As the most sought after lead trumpet player in Hollywood up until his death in 1964, his recorded output is enormous, especially when one considers that he only lived to the age of 42.

Like Porcino, as Dick Vartanian indicates, Gozzo was of Italian descent. His big band career began with Isham Jones in 1938, when he was 16. He played lead trumpet with Red Norvo, Claude Thornhill, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Tex Beneke, Bob Crosby and Boyd Raeburn— part of a very long list. In a rare photograph, we see Gozzo second from the left, with Maynard Ferguson. After he moved to Los Angeles in 1947, Gozzo was sought after in recording and movie studios for the power, accuracy and brilliance of his lead work. From the 1953 Shorty Rogers album Cool and Crazy (reissued on Short Stops), here’s Gozzo sharing the double lead with Ferguson in Rogers’ “Infinity Promenade.” Solos are by Art Pepper, alto sax; Rogers, trumpet; and Jimmy Giuffre, tenor sax.

When Gozzo died of a heart attack in 1964, he was a member of the NBC Holywood staff orchestra.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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