Cozzetti & Gemmill
Cozzetti & Gemmill
Bob Cozzetti (left) and Tim Gemmill (right) performing at the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre, 1981
|Origin||Seattle, Washington, Hackensack, New Jersey|
|Genres||Jazz, avant-garde, fusion, techno|
|Labels||ITI, Cozgem, Rocka|
|Associated acts||Ron Holden & Good News|
Bob Cozzetti and Tim Gemmill (best known as Cozzetti & Gemmill) are American jazz musicians, composers, record producers, co-bandleaders, and entrepreneurs who have been collaborating on musical projects since the late 1960s, most notably: Music Projection Trio (1970–1972), Rorschach (1973–1977), Cozzetti & Gemmill Quartet (1978–1982), Cozzetti & Gemmill (1983–present), Rocka Records (1994–2004), Rocka.com (1999–2004) and Cozgem Records (1981–present). Cozzetti & Gemmill have performed as a duo, trio, quartet, and sextet (most active between 1970 and 1985), while appearing at clubs and concerts with major artists at venues around the country.
Bob Cozzetti and Tim Gemmill first met in 1967, while Tim was playing tenor saxophone & flute in the Jimmy Hanna Big Band. Bob and Jim Ogilvy (Jimmy Hanna) were longtime friends, growing up together on Capital Hill. Bob occasionally played trumpet in the band and was helping Jim with some of the management duties, as well. Roy Cummings and Mark Doubleday (lead trumpet in The Dynamics) were two of his favorite trumpet teachers. Tim had attended the Long Beach State College Stage Band Camp in 1965 and studied under bassist Ralph Pena and acoustic pianist Toshiko Mariano; wife of alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano. Tim's favorite saxophone teacher was Jordan Ruwe. He also studied music theory with bassist David Friesen.
Seattle had a very lively music scene at this time, with prominent jazz artists routinely performing at the Penthouse. There also was an after-hours club (called the Queequeg), located in the University District and managed by pianist/bassist Jerry Heldman. Local musicians could jam most any night at this club. Larry Coryell, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, the Adderley brothers (Cannonball & Nat) and other jazz greats, in town (usually appearing at the Penthouse), would sit in at the Queequeg (later named the Llahngaelhyn). It was this thriving environment that taught Cozzetti & Gemmill all about jazz.
Cozzetti & Gemmill soon formed a musical duo, marketing themselves as a trumpet and saxophone section for hire. In 1968, they spent a year in Los Angeles playing with various rock and roll bands, then traveled back east to Boston, Massachusetts. Their intent was to visit the Berklee College of Music and check out the jazz scene. While in Boston, they played with different groups, mostly rhythm and blues. One such R&B band, led by a fellow 'nicknamed' Shorty (leader and vocalist) was anything but ordinary. He would do full body flips on stage, as part of his act. It was entertaining to the crowd, but not the type of group C&G were looking for. After a few months, they returned to Seattle.
Now back in town, Tim and Bob helped form a six-piece avant-garde jazz orchestra; Cosmic Revolution Jazz Sextet. Group members were Pete Leinonen (acoustic bass), Mike Jacobsen (cello), Steve Swartz (drums) and Charles Jefferson (trumpet). Bob performed on acoustic piano only (no trumpet) and Tim on tenor saxophone & flute. After Cosmic Revolution Jazz Sextet broke up a few months later, Cozzetti & Gemmill (along with drummer/percussionist Swartz) joined a newly formed rock and R&B band: Ron Holden & Good News. Ron Holden is best remembered for his 1959 ballad "Love You So," which became an international top 10 hit and #7 in Billboard. Ron was a talented vocalist and showman; his band greatly influenced by James Brown, Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears. Members included Toby Cyr (electric guitar), Gary Snyder (electric bass); known for his work with Jimmy Hanna, Steve Swartz (drums), Bob Cozzetti (trumpet) and Tim Gemmill (tenor saxophone & flute). Gary Snyder and Toby Cyer were an impressive electric guitar/electric bass pair, with their Marshall amplifiers piled high and the volume cranked up. C&G spent about eight months with Ron Holden & Good News.
Music Projection Trio
Cozzetti & Gemmill (and Swartz) preferred to do their own thing and soon formed a three-piece jazz fusion group in early 1970: Music Projection Trio. MPT was quite unique with Tim and Bob rotating between saxophone & trumpet and acoustic or electric piano; Fender Rhodes electric piano. They each took turns up front on their respective horns and then backed one another on keyboards. The absence of a bass player (and switching around), gave Music Projection Trio a sound all its own. Special note; during this time, Bob had become friends with Mr. Harold Rhodes and Harold (trying to compensate for the lack of bass) enhanced the lower range of their instrument. As a result; C&G were able to play full-bodied bass lines with their left hand and solos, chords, etc., with their right.
Music Projection Trio got their first big break in October 1970, when they were invited by promoter and saxophonist Joe Brazil to perform a set on Sunday evening with the Herbie Hancock Sextet at Club Ebonee. Mr. Hancock was in town, performing at the Northwest Jazz Spectacular on October 3, 1970, with Miles Davis, Roberta Flack, Bill Evans and Cannonball Adderley, to name a few. Herbie extended his stay to do four nights at this popular club, located in the Central District, Seattle. Bob got a piano lesson from him on Saturday, prior to MPT's performance the next day. Drummer Billy Hart was impressed with the group. Music Projection Trio also appeared October 11, 1970 at the Jazz Ragtime Festival, which was held at Central Washington State College. Ramsey Lewis, the late John Lee Hooker, the late Joe Jordan and the late Eubie Blake were the headliners.
On June 6, 1971, MPT was asked to perform at the Seattle premiere for the racing film Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen. In August 1971, MPT appeared for Rock Kaleidoscope at the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater; a concert series sponsored by Seattle Mayor Wesley C. Uhlman. Bob Cozzetti received a letter from Mayor Uhlman, stating, "May I take this opportunity, on behalf of the people of Seattle, to thank you for the hours of help and participation you gave to Festival '71 at the Seattle Center." On February 18, 1972, Music Projection Trio put on a solo concert at Gonzaga University. Another special event by MPT was participating in a benefit to honor Sidney Poitier at Gracie Hansen's club in Portland, Oregon. Concert and club appearances were many, but opening the show for an entire week (5/15/72-5/20/72) with jazz great Charles Lloyd and his quartet, at the Fresh Air Tavern, was an extraordinary experience for Cozzetti & Gemmill. Many well-known jazz and blues artists performed at this club; including Albert Collins, Johnny Otis and Muddy Waters.
In September 1972, Tim and Bob (and Steve) ventured back east, again (now as Music Projection Trio) and settled in Hackensack, New Jersey. Their intent was to be as close to New York City, as possible. Manhattan was 'the place' for jazz and they wanted to learn from the masters. MPT was soon performing at clubs and concerts in and around the New York City area; including concerts at Fairleigh Dickinson College (11/3/72), Montclair State College (11/8/72), Columbia and Princeton Universities, etc. On 11/13/72, they performed at a "Guest Appearance Showcase" at the Village Gate, in Greenwich Village and did a two-night gig at the Three Sisters Jazz Club (Paterson, New Jersey) December 15 and 16. Most notable, though, was their long stint (eight months) at the Mercer Arts Center, which began November 7, 1972. They were regulars in the Blue Room on Mondays, with pianist Albert Dailey and his quartet appearing on Tuesdays; Joe Fergusson (saxophones & flute), Wayne Dockery (bass) and David Lee (drums). Cozzetti & Gemmill made a decision to change the group name to Rorschach in January 1973. In a review of Rorschach February 21, 1973, jazz critic Kirb, writing for Variety, states, "The combo, ages 23–26, are solid instrumentally" ... "proficiency clearly is there". The New York Dolls and Blondie (with singer Debbie Harry) were regulars at the Mercer Arts Center. However; all the fun came to a halt when the building collapsed on August 3, 1973.
Cozzetti & Gemmill's decision to change the group name to Rorschach, relates to a discussion with the Artists Relations Manager at Milestone Records; Mr. Topper Schroeder. Topper was of the opinion their music resembled the famous ink-blot test. In March 1973, Rorschach opened for the Mongo Santamaria Big Band at Kenny's Castaways, in Manhattan's West Village. Santamaria was famous for salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz. Cashbox critic Robert Adels wrote, in his review, "Rorschach is Bob Cozzetti on Fender Rhodes and trumpet, Tim Gemmill on alto and tenor sax and Steve Schwartz on drums. Both Tim and Bob occasionally move over to maracas, but it's Steve's inventive work which truly keeps the beat interesting."
In the mid-1970s, Steve Swartz left the group and Rorschach became a quartet with the addition of the late bassist Midge Pike, whom had performed with major jazz artists Jackie McLean, Albert Ayler and Paul Winter. Wes Jensen and Bruce Jackson were Rorschach's drummers. Tim and Bob very much enjoyed playing with Midge Pike. The highlight of their time together was a performance at Gerde's Folk City (referred to back then as Gerdes) in summer 1977, which was recorded on a two track Teac tape deck with a couple Shure microphones. Alex Henderson, in an album review, writes, "in the 1970s, soprano saxophonist Tim Gemmill and keyboardist Bob Cozzetti had a quartet called Rorschach. The group started in 1972 and had been in existence for five years when Voyage of the Mummy was recorded live at the Gerdes Folk' City in New York's Greenwich Village in 1977." ... "And while these performances included electric keyboards and electric bass, they are clearly in the spiritual post-bop vein of Coltrane, Lateef, Tyner, Pharoah Sanders and Rahsaan Roland Kirk."
Cozzetti & Gemmill continued to travel back and forth between the east and west coasts. In Seattle, they often played with drummer/percussionist Fred Taylor and bassists Steve Bartlett or Bruce Phares. On May 22, 1976, Rorschach appeared with legendary guitarist Larry Coryell at the Bellevue Jazz Festival; Bellevue Community College (Bellevue, Washington). In May 1977, Rorschach returned to New York City, where they were invited to perform at an outdoor concert series put on at Lincoln Center. Midge Pike (bass) and Bruce Jackson (drums) performed at this event, which reviewer Dick Murphy briefly mentioned in a June 1, 1977 write up in his column And All That Jazz. Murphy wrote, "Another group, based in New Jersey, just starting to make fusion statements in New York is Rorschach. They recently played to the afternoon crowd outside Lincoln Center and they may develop into a band to reckon with." Other significant venues Rorschach performed at during this period were The Bitter End and United Nations. However: they really enjoyed putting on outdoor summer concerts in Brooklyn. Most notable were The Brooklyn Museum's Theater in the Back July 27, 1974 and Brooklyn Arts and Culture Association July 3, 1977.
Cozzetti & Gemmill Quartet
Soon after the summer concerts were over and fall fast approaching, Tim and Bob decided to leave New Jersey and move back to Seattle. Upon their return, they pretty much began where they had left off; performing at clubs and concerts in and around the area. It was at this time, that they decided to just use their own names on stage: Cozzetti & Gemmill Quartet. A highlight of their return was appearing in January 1978, at the prestigious Parnell's for three nights (Friday through Sunday). They were billed as New York Jazz. Fred Taylor (drums/percussion) and Steve Bartlett (electric bass) rounded out the group. Parnell's was the top jazz club in Seattle, at that time. On January 29, Cozzetti & Gemmill Quartet participated in a benefit at the Bombay Bicycle Shop, in cooperation with the 9th Annual KIRO-TV Variety Club Telethon. All proceeds from this event were donated, by the quartet, to the Variety Club's Children's Charities on the Telethon February 5.
As Cozzetti & Gemmill Quartet, C&G recorded their first album at Pacific West Recorders (Redmond, Washington) on March 16, 1981; Concerto For Padré. Lee Underwood, West Coast Editor for Down Beat, did the liner notes in September 1981, and wrote, "As composers, conceptualizers and improvisers, Cozzetti and Gemmill are well aware of the rich legacy handed them from the masters of the American jazz past. Their influences include the immortal John Coltrane, the unique McCoy Tyner, the funky Horace Silver, and the Prince of Darkness himself, the great Miles Davis." Mr. Underwood went on to say, "Concerto For Padré marks an auspicious debut for the Cozzetti-Gemmill Quartet. They display talent, conviction, enthusiasm, sensitivity and good taste. By respecting the great past of American jazz, and by expressing the soul and vision of their living present, they show great promise for the ever-evolving future."
Cadence jazz critic Carl Brauer, in a September 1982 vinyl album review of Concerto For Padré, writes, "Cozzetti and Gemmill show themselves to be not only accomplished musicians but also adept composers. The six (32:42) selections (Contemplating Raindrops/ Colony Four/ China/ Cyclops*/ Concerto For Padre/ Captain Pike) were recorded 3/16/81 and vary from the modality of "Raindrops" to the solo piano performance of the title track." Mr. Brauer concludes his article, by saying, "listeners should find the performances to grow on them." Although the Seattle jazz stations were just discovering the nuances of jazz fusion in the early 1980s, the response by other local media to Concerto For Padré was overwhelming. Cozzetti & Gemmill were invited to participate in the Northwest Music Days Festival in July 1982. This event was held at Peaches Records and Tapes in the University District. In an article, appearing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Peaches store manager, Ben Daniel, stated, "The purpose of the festival is basically to promote Northwest Music … There's an incredible amount of local groups turning out their own albums. It's really unbelievable how much material we get on a monthly basis." Concerto For Padré sold so well at Peaches, that Neil Heiman (owner) put the album up on the side of the building.
Cozzetti & Gemmill
Whether using an enhanced Fender Rhodes in 1970, a polyphonic Memorymoog in 1981 or an all digital studio to produce an album (Road Songs) in 2013, C&G have always been innovators. As stated by Theresa Nixon in a review by Highlander Community News, July 27, 1983, "All you jazz fans watch out for Cozzetti & Gemmill. Perhaps the most innovative jazz group in a long time." Tom Bingham, writing for the Jazz World Index, in 1983, states, "The band is without gimmick and most definitely an extension of the new music, yet makes sense and tries not to confuse the listener. The sound is of modern instrumental, the concert atmosphere one of easiness, tranquility and understanding on the part of the audience, suitable as an opening act to major talent or as sole performer."
After Concerto For Padré, the focus began to shift from playing anywhere and everywhere, to recording; and other aspects of the music business. However; C&G continued to perform in public for special events and worthy causes, like putting on a concert at the Seattle Center Food Circus to benefit Northwest Second Harvest. In late 1983, Cozzetti & Gemmill recorded their second vinyl album, Soft Flower in Spring (with Steve Bartlett; electric bass and Bob Merrihew; drums), released on a newly formed independent label: ITI Records. At this time, the decision was made to drop quartet from the name. This provided the freedom to use any number of musicians going forward. Down Beat jazz critic, A. James Liska, who did the liner notes, writes, "The democratic spirit evident in Soft Flower in Spring, the second album by the twosome's quartet, reflects a rare cooperative effort in design, direction and detail whose teamwork is as impressive as the music. Cozzetti & Gemmill share not only in the responsibilities of composing and arranging (there are an equal number of individual and collaborative efforts contained herein), but in their instrumental duties (both are keyboardists who share piano and synthesizer responsibilities)."
With the introduction of the compact disc in October 1982, vinyl albums would soon become a thing of the past. As sales of CDs continued to grow throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, C&G decided to convert Concerto For Padré and Soft Flower in Spring to digital format. Timeless, released in 1994 on Rocka Records (a Cozzetti & Gemmill label), was a reissue of these two vinyl albums onto disc. Alan Yoshida was hired as mastering engineer (A&M Mastering) and Larry Larz Nefzger, mixing engineer (Triad Studios). David Dupont, writing for Cadence, states, "Timeless presents a reissue of what is apparently the collected works (except for a track called "Concerto for Padre" that's listed in Lord's discography) of Seattle-based musicians Cozzetti and Gemmill (9/82, p.16 & 5/85, p.69). And if anyone were to be looking for a soundtrack of the period from the mid-seventies to the early eighties, this music would be fine. The use of the Moog synthesizer provides an especially eerie evocation of the time." Mr. Dupont further states, "This is certainly not prophetic music, and yet it has integrity far beyond the commercial music of its time. It manages to speak of a particular era without being dated, and hearing it makes me wonder what Cozzetti and Gemmill have been up to in the past ten years."
A month after the Cadence review, Tim and Bob agreed to do an interview with Evolution TV's Inside Out. This was an Arts & Entertainment show, hosted by Allyn Weeks and Zondra Brandon, featuring Northwest talent. Michael D. Williams talks with C&G about the Seattle & New York City jazz scenes, the release of Timeless and their future plans, etc. With the rise of the Internet, Cozzetti & Gemmill began to gain interest in the Web. In May 1996, they purchased the domain Rocka.com and formed a small ISP (active between April 1999 and April 2004), offering 24/7 Web design/development and Web hosting services. The operating system was NT 4.0 (later Windows 2000 Server). The hardware; two Gateway ALR 8200 servers, mail server, Cisco and/or 3Com routers, hubs, etc. The network consisted of bandwidth provided by 2ALPHA (local ISP), one ISDN line and two ADSL lines courtesy of Verizon. In April 1997, C&G purchased MusicontheWeb.com, which now has links to over 500 artist websites, embedded .mp3 audio, dynamic html, colorful graphics, animations, etc. Music on the Web® is a registered trademark.
In 2010, it was back to work with Cozgem Records; remastering Timeless and releasing Voyage of the Mummy the following year. Bob and Tim had not done anything with their own label since 1981. So, this was something new and exciting. Jazz critic David Franklin, in a review for Cadence, December 2011, writes, "The ensemble then known as Rorschach recorded Voyage of the Mummy live to two-track tape at a New York club in 1977, but the recording remained in storage until it was recently converted to disk. Having changed the group's name to Cozzetti & Gemmill and modified their personnel, they recorded the album Concerto For Padré in 1981 and, with a change in drummers, Soft Flower in Spring in 1983. The later two releases were edited and re-mastered to create Timeless."
Mr. Franklin further states, "Although the instrumentation of Timeless is also a quartet, it seems larger because Gemmill plays synthesizers and/or keyboards behind Cozzetti's trumpet and Cozzetti does the same for his co-leader's saxophones. Gemmill usually is heard on soprano or tenor saxophone, but he switches to electric piano to accompany Cozzetti's bravura trumpet performance of 'Cyclops' and to acoustic piano for the trumpeter's calmer rendition of 'Soft Flower in Spring'."
Road Songs (2013) and Road Songs 2 (2017) are both C&G productions; with compositions, arrangements and instrumentation by Tim Gemmill. These two albums represent a departure from past projects, with almost exclusive use of digital devices and/or synthesizers. The use of MIDI, a 24 track Mackie board and Digital Audio Tape makes these recordings unique. Both albums feature Jay kenney (Audio Logic Studio) as mixing engineer and Dave Davis (The All Night Party), mastering engineer. QCA, Inc. was responsible for CD manufacturing on Road Songs only. Road Songs 2 has been released digitally on their website.
As stated by Alex Henderson, in an August 2014 review, "Road Songs draws inspiration from different parts of the world. And that may explain why it is called Road Songs: if someone hits the road, does a lot of international traveling and checks out the music scenes in different countries, he/she is likely to be exposed to a variety of musical styles."
Music critic Scott Yanow, in Musical Legacy - Cozzetti & Gemmill, July 2017, writes, "Through the years, Tim Gemmill and Bob Cozzetti have continued working together in many settings. Their two most recent recordings, Road Songs and its follow-up Road Songs 2, are a bit unusual for they showcase Gemmill as a solo keyboardist while Cozzetti is the co-producer." Mr. Yanow continues, "Through overdubbing, Tim Gemmill creates a digital orchestra on these two projects. His expert utilization of the UltraProteus, the Memorymoog, the Prophecy, the Kawaii, a drum synthesizer and colorful samplers results in unique blends of sound. In addition to the electric and acoustic keyboards, one can hear a guitar, bass lines, drums, and percussion, all performed by Gemmill."
- 1981: Concerto For Padré (Cozgem)
- 1984: Soft Flower in Spring (ITI)
- 1994: Timeless (Rocka)
- 2010: Timeless (Cozgem)
- 2011: Voyage of the Mummy (Cozgem)
- 2013: Road Songs (Cozgem)
- 2017: Road Songs 2 (Cozgem)
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