|Birth name||Attila Cornelius Zoller|
June 13, 1927|
|Died||January 25, 1998
Townshend, Vermont, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, free jazz|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, inventor, educator|
|Associated acts||Lee Konitz|
Attila Cornelius Zoller (June 13, 1927 – January 25, 1998) was a jazz guitarist born in Hungary. After World War II, he escaped the Soviet takeover of Hungary by fleeing through the mountains on foot into Austria. In 1959, he moved to the U.S., where he spent the rest of his life as a musician and teacher.
Zoller was born in Visegrád, Hungary in 1927. As a child, he learned violin from his father, a professional violinist. While in school, he played flugelhorn and bass before choosing guitar. He dropped out of school and played in jazz clubs in Budapest while Russia occupied Hungary. He fled Hungary in 1948 as the Soviet Union was establishing communist military rule. He escaped on foot, carrying his guitar through the mountains into Austria. He settled in Vienna, became an Austrian citizen, and started a jazz group with accordionist Vera Auer.
In the 1950s, Zoller moved to Germany and played with German musicians Jutta Hipp and Hans Koller. When American jazz musicians passed through, such as Oscar Pettiford and Lee Konitz, they persuaded him to move to the United States. He moved to the U.S. after receiving a scholarship to the Lenox School of Jazz. One of his teachers was guitarist Jim Hall and his roommate was Ornette Coleman, who got him interested in free jazz.
From 1962–1965, Zoller performed in a group with flautist Herbie Mann, then Lee Konitz and Albert Mangelsdorff. Over the years, he played and recorded with Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Red Norvo, Jimmy Raney, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Shirley Scott, Cal Tjader, and Jimi Hendrix.
In 1974, he started the Attila Zoller Jazz Clinics in Vermont, later named the Vermont Jazz Center, where he taught until 1998. He invented a bi-directional pickup, designed strings and a signature guitar series. He performed with Tommy Flanagan and George Mraz in New York City three weeks before his death in 1998 in Townshend, Vermont.
Awards and honors
- Lifetime Achievement Award, New England Foundation for the Arts
- Message to Attila, tribute album featuring Zoller's compositions performed by guitarists John Abercrombie, Gene Bertoncini, Peter Bernstein, Pat Metheny, and Mike Stern
- 1964: Jazz und Lyrik (Philips)
- 1965: Zo-Ko-So (MPS) with Martial Solal, Hans Koller
- 1965: The Horizon Beyond (EmArcy/ACT) with Don Friedman, Barre Phillips, Daniel Humair
- 1965: The Big Beat with Klaus Doldinger
- 1966: Katz und Maus (SABA)
- 1966: Metamorphosis (Prestige) with Don Friedman
- 1968: Zo-Ko-Ma (MPS) with Lee Konitz and Albert Mangelsdorff
- 1969: Gypsy Cry (Embryo)
- 1971: A Path Through the Haze (MPS) with Masahiko Sato
- 1979: The K & K in New York (L&R) with George Mraz
- 1979: Jim and I (L&R) with Jimmy Raney
- 1979: Common Cause with Ron Carter & Joe Chambers
- 1979: Conjunction (Enja)
- 1982: Dream Bells (Enja)
- 1986: Overcome (Enja)
- 1986: Memories of Pannonia (Enja) with Michael Formanek and Daniel Humair
- 1992: Live Highlights (Bhakti)
- 1994: When It's Time (Enja) with Santi Debriano, Yoron Israel, Lee Konitz, Larry Willis
- 1995: Thingin' (Hatology) with Don Friedman and Lee Konitz
- 1997: Lasting Love (Acoustic Music)
- 1997–98: The Last Recording (Enja)
- 1998: Trinity (L&R) with Hans Koller & Roland Hanna
With Herbie Mann
- Herbie Mann Live at Newport (Atlantic, 1963)
- My Kinda Groove (Atlantic, 1964)
- Our Mann Flute (Atlantic, 1966)
- Impressions of the Middle East (Atlantic, 1966)
- Monday Night at the Village Gate (1966)
- The Beat Goes On (Atlantic, 1967)
With Don Friedman
With Dave Pike
With Shirley Scott
With Cal Tjader
- 1960 First Bass, Oscar Pettiford
- 1960 Swing, Swing, Swing, Benny Goodman
- 1970 Tony Scott, Tony Scott
- 1982 Urban Blues, Lajos Duda
- 1992 From Newport to Nice, Lee Konitz
- Kelsey, Chris. "Attila Zoller | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
- "Attila Zoller Recording Credits". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
- "Zoller Receives Lifetime Achievement Award". Enjarecords.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
- "Message to Attila: The Music of Attilla Zoller". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 November 2016.