Attila Zoller

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Attila Zoller
Birth nameAttila Cornelius Zoller
Born(1927-06-13)June 13, 1927
Visegrád, Hungary
DiedJanuary 25, 1998(1998-01-25) (aged 70)
Townshend, U.S.
GenresJazz, free jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, inventor, educator
Years active1960–1998
Associated actsLee 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.

Music career[edit]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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, Jimi Hendrix, and in New York City jazz clubs in the 1960s with pianist Don Friedman[2]

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.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]


  • Jazz und Lyrik (Philips, 1964)
  • Zo-Ko-So with Hans Koller, Martial Solal (Saba, 1965)
  • Gypsy Cry (Embryo, 1970)
  • Dream Bells (Enja, 1976)
  • Common Cause (Enja, 1979)
  • The K&K 3 in New York (L+R, 1980)
  • Jim and I with Jimmy Raney (L&R, 1980)
  • Jim and I Live with Jimmy Raney (L+R, 1981)
  • Conjunction (Enja, 1989)
  • Memories of Pannonia (Enja, 1986)
  • Overcome (Enja, 1988)
  • When It's Time (Enja, 1995)
  • Thingin' with Don Friedman, Lee Konitz (Hatology, 1996)
  • Jazz Soundtracks (Sonorama, 2013)[5]

As sideman[edit]

With Don Friedman

With Herbie Mann

With Dave Pike

With Shirley Scott

With Cal Tjader

With others


  1. ^ a b c Kelsey, Chris. "Attila Zoller | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Attila Zoller Recording Credits". Retrieved 2010-10-23.
  3. ^ "Zoller Receives Lifetime Achievement Award". Archived from the original on 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
  4. ^ "Message to Attila: The Music of Attilla Zoller". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Attila Zoller | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 February 2019.

External links[edit]