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  1. #1

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    Went back and listened to some old TM instrumental cuts on You Tube - I had most of his albums back in the 60's. Always liked his stuff because he didn't get too far from the melody. Great player for sure. Any other Mottola fans out there? I also used to have a book of transcriptions of the sound effects he did from an old 50's TV show called "Danger" - he used combs and waxed paper and all sorts of things to get the effects. I believe he did all the sound for the show - just him. He wrapped his 'A' under the 'E' to get a snare drum effect - really cool stuff.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I LOVED his stuff. He got in with that Enoch Light label and was heard more often on "easy listening" stations than anywhere else but I do remember being in high school, (this is true) being in a dentist's office and overhead there was AMAZING chord soloing. That's when I started collecting Tony Mattola records. I have quite a few vinyls of him. LOTS of strings, but maybe one pure chord solo or trio per record. And of course his D'Angelico was pretty too.

    David

  4. #3

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    One of my Mother's favorite tunes was "Always". It was the one played at her wedding. For her it is an emotional connection to her departed husband and my Dad, so I recently learned Tony Mottola's version. Still working on Lenny Breau's version.




  5. #4

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    Rob, try the Hank Garland version. It's on "Jazz Winds From A New Direction". Every guitar player should own that one.

  6. #5

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    Go back to his 30s 40's duet recordings w his teacher, the great Carl Kress.

    Like this ...

  7. #6

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    Or this.....


  8. #7

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    I'm no way an autograph hound but I did get him to sign my copy of Fun On The Frets back in the day.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    Rob, try the Hank Garland version. It's on "Jazz Winds From A New Direction". Every guitar player should own that one.
    Thanks, I have that LP and I forgot he played "Always" on it. I'll check it out tonight.

  10. #9

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    Tony Mottola has always been one of my favorite guitarists. He had that fat, gorgeous sound - especially on his unaccompanied chord melody solos. His solo chord melody arrangements remind me a lot of Johnny Smith's because they are full of textural contrast and so well thought out.

    I've transcribed 3 different Mottola chord melody solos so far including "My Favorite Things, Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered, and Stella By Starlight. I can't remember which albums they were from but if you can find the recordings of those solos you will never forget them.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    Learn To Play Chord Melody Guitar

  11. #10

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    Looked up his wiki (with only a single mention of being a guitarist, and this in an R&B cover band!) and was sort of shocked that he is only 68.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by zdub View Post
    Looked up his wiki (with only a single mention of being a guitarist, and this in an R&B cover band!) and was sort of shocked that he is only 68.

    Try looking up TONY Mottola, not TOMMY.

    Danny W.

  13. #12

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    Who are we talking about that is only 68 ? Tony died in 2004. And yes, he was always one of my favs too. Back in the 70s you could hear a lot of his playing over muzac they called it, piped in over the department stores....you could tell in 3 or 4 notes it was him playing. I think I have just about every recording he ever made...some recordings I liked a lot, others not as much, but then thats true of just about every one. Thanks or bringing up MR BIG, I think they called him....he was also staff guitarist on Johnny Carson show or one of those...maybe it was back in the days of Jack Parr...I am showing my age now !

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by danny w. View Post
    try looking up tony mottola, not tommy.

    Danny w.

    big woops!!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcpicker47 View Post
    Who are we talking about that is only 68 ? Tony died in 2004. And yes, he was always one of my favs too. Back in the 70s you could hear a lot of his playing over muzac they called it, piped in over the department stores....you could tell in 3 or 4 notes it was him playing. I think I have just about every recording he ever made...some recordings I liked a lot, others not as much, but then thats true of just about every one. Thanks or bringing up MR BIG, I think they called him....he was also staff guitarist on Johnny Carson show or one of those...maybe it was back in the days of Jack Parr...I am showing my age now !
    I think he was staff guitarist for the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was in NY. When the show moved to CA, Bob Bain held the guitar chair for something like 20+ years. Bob also played guitar on the M*A*S*H theme, Munsters and a bunch of other stuff, including most of Henry Mancini's stuff, including Peter Gunn. Both of these guys were not well known 'guitar gods' but were always the ones I looked up to along with Johnny Smith.

  16. #15

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    ISTR that Bucky Pizzarelli was the guitarist for the Tonight Show in New York.

  17. #16

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    In his autobiography, 'Sideman', Billy Bauer talked about when he used to do studio sessions with Tony Mottola and his guitar gang.

    They'd come into the studio, just glance at the music for a minute, and then go outside and smoke cigars till the session started.
    They'd come back in and sight read even the most difficult music perfectly.

  18. #17

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    Tony has a few numbers on YouTube: "Yesterday/Yesterdays" ; "All The Way" and a nice , although scratchy version of, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You."
    With regard the Hank Garland version of, "Always," I've attached it here.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtrplrfla View Post
    Tony has a few numbers on YouTube: "Yesterday/Yesterdays" ; "All The Way" and a nice , although scratchy version of, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You."
    With regard the Hank Garland version of, "Always," I've attached it here.
    For some reason I cannot view videos on this site, but can everywhere else and now I had difficulty posting the above link. Here goes - I'll try again !
    Success , at last !

  20. #19

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    I have a book of transcriptions of that Hank Garland cd...way over my head ! but I love Hanks playing.

  21. #20

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    Tony Mottola is the first jazz guitarist I became aware of when I was a kid. He was my granddad’s favorite, we used to listen to his records all the time so naturally I wanted to learn to play like him when I started. I of course discovered Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery and everybody else later. For years I wondered why Tony was never mentioned with the greats. Seems like he was primarily known to the NY guys (I grew up on Long Island). Last year when I met Vinny Raniolo we talked about Mottola. Vinny’s a Jersey boy so I guess that fits. Do you guys think Tony Mottola is underrated in the jazz guitar world?

  22. #21

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    Yes I think he is under rated as a guitarist in general....some purist would say that he wasnt a jazz guitarist because he didnt improvise that much....actuallly even Johnny Smith got that criticism because his recordings were all orchestrated out and planned...but they both are still my favorites to listen to....regardless of his category...i

  23. #22

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    Tony Mottola's artistry, in my opinion, defined chord melody guitar playing--not improvisational jazz guitar. His arrangements and sound were imitative of the top crooners of the era.

    I grew up listening to one LP in particular, "Romantic Guitar". According to the liner notes Bucky Pizzarelli can be heard on that album also. We are not talking about improvisational jazz guitar but just beautifully arranged and played "standard tunes".

    If I recall, Carson's New York show used three guitarists depending on availability, Gene Bertoncini, Bucky Pizzarelli and Tony Mottola. I haven't checked recently but at one time YouTube had several interviews with Tony Mottola wherein he discussed his career as a studio musician in New York City, his role as music director on the early live TV program "Danger" and his extensive touring as Frank Sinatra''s guitarist.

    In the late 1980s (as a forty year old who had been playing at that time for about thirty years) I studied with Billy Bauer for a long time. Occasionally he would relate anecdotes about the New York guitar scene during the 40s, 50s and 60s and the musicians he worked with. I'm sorry I didn't write them down as they were always entertaining.

    Billy was an excellent teacher who generally started each lesson with the following "you see this neck, it's a two foot mystery." How right he was.

    Tony D.

  24. #23
    Has anyone out theredone a transcription of Tony Mottola's duet with Frank Sinatra - "It's Sunday"?
    Just working on it. Pretty cool.

  25. #24

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    I found Tony Mottola's LP "Guitar / Paris" in a bargain bin as a young teen ager and it was hugely influential. The Enoch Light stern engineering made the sound pop out of the speakers in a remarkably present way. Tony's playing on both acoustic and electric was masterful - sensitive, swinging, simple yet light years beyond what I could do at the time. It was a huge influence on my tastes as a musician and listener.