J. Gozzo (1922-1964)
was an American trumpet player. Gozzo was a member of the NBC Hollywood
staff orchestra at the time of his death in October, 1964.
Gozzo, lead trumpeter on the Glen Gray and Harry James "remakes", recorded extensively with arrangers such as Van Alexander, Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Ray Conniff, Jerry Fielding and Shorty Rogers, as well as accompanying Frank Sinatra. Gozzo always played lead trumpet on all of the recordings of his close friend, Henry Mancini. He was heard on many major live television shows aired on the NBC network, originating from Hollywood, including the Dinah Shore Show, between 1955 and 1964. Gozzo also played on several movie soundtracks, such as The Glenn Miller Story, The Benny Goodman Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Call Me Madom, Ben Hur, and Cleopatra.
"The Goz," as he is often called was known for having the largest, most sonorous sound to ever ring through a trumpet's bell. He shaped the concept of "the lead trumpet sound" in the swing era, characterized as a broad and beautiful tone that leads the big band and blankets it with a powerful sound. Gozzo's lead trumpet concept remained the standard to which all others were compared throughout swing era until lead trumpeters like Lin Biviano revamped the style to a more exciting, in-your-face sound.
Conrad Gozzo's classic recording of "Trumpeter's Prayer," composed by Tutti Camarata for Gozzo remains a must-have for every aspiring trumpeter. http://www.abitabouteverything.com/files/c/co/conrad_gozzo.html
A topnotch studio musician and first trumpeter, Conrad Gozzo was also a skilled (but underutilized) jazz soloist. He originally studied with his father (a trumpet teacher) and in 1938 started his professional career by joining Isham Jones' Orchestra.
Gozzo had stints with the big bands of Tommy Reynolds, Red Norvo, Johnny "Scat" Davis, Bob Chester and Claude Thornhill (1941-42). He worked with Benny Goodman for three months and then spent time in the military (getting to play with Artie Shaw's Navy band). After his discharge, Gozzo was with Woody Herman's First Herd (1945-46), Boyd Raeburn and Tex Beneke. In all of those bands, he rarely had solos but his warm sound and impressive range were considered major assets. In 1947 Gozzo (who was still just 25) settled in Los Angeles where he became a very busy studio musician, appearing on a countless number of recordings during the next 17 years. He also played for radio shows, television and films. His death from a heart attack at the age of 42 was a tragic end to a productive career. Conrad Gozzo only led one record album, a long out-of-print set for Victor in 1955 (Gozz The Great) that featured him with a big band, a sextet and with strings. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide