November 24, 1947 |
Fort Benning, Georgia, United States
Early life and education
His first attempt to audition for Lawrence Welk came when Zell was fifteen years old. Welk's orchestra was playing at the Hollywood Palladium and when he asked if he can play a trumpet solo for him, Welk, although impressed with his talent and moxie, thought that he was too young but told him to see him again when he was a bit older and had more experience.[clarification needed]
In early 1968, while with the NORAD band, Zell had a second chance to audition for Welk. Zell was asked to do a television commercial for U.S. Army recruiting and part of the job was to do an interview for the Welk show and to play trumpet for the band. After his performance on that show, Welk hired him into the band upon his completion of his military service which was nine months away.
From 1968 until the television series ended in 1982, Zell was one of The Lawrence Welk Show's most-popular musicians, and was often featured in trumpet solos including "At The Cross", "Hot Lips" and "String of Pearls".
Zell was the protégé of Welk trumpet great, Norman Bailey. Norman gave Zell one of his trumpets.
He and his wife, Laura, live in Oregon. He is the father of four children.
- "Search Results". Redlands Daily Facts. October 17, 2003. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- jazell.com, Zell's site