News

October 1, 2022

 

My new album Balkan Roots is RELEASED! Here are the ordering links:

 

zt-music.com (CDs + downloads)

Bandcamp (CDs + downloads)

Amazon (downloads)

iTunes (downloads)

 

Balkan Roots is an album of 15 folk songs from ex-Yugoslavia, re-imagined through eclectic contemporary arrangements for a 10-piece acoustic orchestra.

Tracks:
1. Čudna jada od Mostara grada 4:41
2. Pirav mange korkoro 4:33
3. Verka kaluđerka 4:16
4. Još ne sviće rujna zora 7:24
5. Moj dilbere 4:27
6. Ajde, Jano 4:48
7. Oj, golube, moj golube 3:51
8. Zapevala sojka ptica 4:05
9. Ederlezi 6:49
10. Oj, Jelo, Jelo, Jeleno 4:01

11. Sudbo moja 4:43

12. Si zaljubiv edno mome 4:29

13. Fatiše kolo vranjske devojke 4:32
14. Prošeta se Jovka Kumanovka 4:11
15. Ah, što ćemo ljubav kriti 6:42
Total duration: 73:40

An excerpt from the liner notes by ethnomusicologist Marija Vitas:

“Like a composer from Serbian romanticism, Tot enriched the Balkan musical constellation with gorgeous orchestration. The intriguing sound tapestry of Balkan Roots is sometimes very cinematic, presenting great examples of chamber music in some moments. Tot’s knowledge of harmony is fascinating, but so is his attitude towards melody. One is in the service of the other, and it is not surprising that the author strives for a balance of the horizontal and the vertical, and a multitude of independent and organically connected melodies.”

The Balkan Fusion Orchestra:
Slavica Momaković Miljanović – Vocals
Lelo Nika – Accordion
Chip McNeill – Tenor Saxophone
Carmen Kassinger – Violin
Lisa Fako – Violin
Max Raimi – Viola
Paula Kosower – Cello
Rob Kassinger – Double Bass
Zvonimir Tot – Acoustic Guitar

Nikola Đokić – Drums and Ethnic Percussion

 

Produced by Chip McNeill

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Freddie Breitberg

Liner notes by Marija Vitas

CD design and photography by Michael Coakes

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July 18, 2022

 

My new CD Balkan Roots will be released on October 1 as physical CD and on all major download platforms. The CD contains 15 folk songs from different regions of ex-Yugoslavia in my arrangements for an acoustic 10-piece orchestra.

Here's a promo video:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An excerpt from the liner notes by ethnomusicologist Marija Vitas:

"Like a composer from Serbian romanticism, Tot enriched the Balkan musical constellation with gorgeous orchestration. The intriguing sound tapestry of Balkan Roots is sometimes very cinematic, presenting great examples of chamber music in some moments. Tot’s knowledge of harmony is fascinating, but so is his attitude towards melody. One is in the service of the other, and it is not surprising that the author strives for a balance of the horizontal and the vertical, and a multitude of independent and organically connected melodies."

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March 5, 2022

Just confirmed: I am happy to announce that I will be teaching in beautiful Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico as a Fulbright Specialist for 6 weeks in May and June. Looking forward to working with the students and collaborating with the outstanding professors at the jazz department of Universidad Veracruzana.

In other news, my upcoming world music CD Balkan Roots is ready for manufacturing. Expected release: October 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February 5, 2022

I am happy to announce that as of today I endorse Finale notation software, in my opinion the best music notation software on the market. Those who know me will not be surprised. I have been enthusiastically using Finale for 25 years for all my scores, as well as the guitar harmony book published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz. It's nice to now be formally associated with the company whose product I love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February 1, 2022

My upcoming CD Balkan Roots has been mixed and mastered. Expected release: Fall 2022. Balkan Roots is a world music CD with 15 traditional folk songs from different regions of ex-Yugoslavia. Arranged for an acoustic 10-piece orchestra, the music combines the influences of folk music, concert music, and jazz.

Musicians:

Slavica Momaković Miljanović – vocals

Lelo Nika – accordion

Chip McNeill – tenor saxophone, producer

Carmen Kassinger – violin

Lisa Fako – violin

Max Raimi – viola

Paula Kosower – cello

Rob Kassinger – double bass

Zvonimir Tot – acoustic guitar

Nikola Đokić – drums and ethnic percussion

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March 1, 2021

The new CD Sarabande Blue is released! Sarabande Blue is a jazz/classical crossover for acoustic guitar and string quintet, featuring all original compositions.

The band:

Zvonimir Tot - acoustic guitars

Carmen Kassinger - violin

Lisa Fako - violin

Cheryl Wilson - viola

Paula Kosower - cello

Rob Kassinger - double bass

Produced by Cheryl Wilson and Freddie Breitberg

Mixed and mastered by Freddie Breitberg

Liner notes by Howard Mandel

Design by Michael Coakes

Photography: George Burns

"Sarabande Blue is a rare, indeed perhaps unique instance of finely detailed writing for unamplified strings along with inspired improvisation arriving at a warm, well-balanced blend."

From the liner notes by Howard Mandel

"(Sarabande Blue) carries the elegant gleam of top level musicianship and meticulous tune-smithing on a set of (almost) all Tot originals."

Dan McClenaghan, allaboutjazz.com

"With this brilliant and enthralling album Tot has crafted a genre defying work that is both intimate and cinematic."

Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine

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December 17, 2020

CD release: Monday, March 1, 2021

My CD "Sarabande Blue" for acoustic guitar and string quintet will be released on Monday, March 1, 2021. All original music, a jazz/concert music crossover.

The band: Carmen Kassinger (violin), Lisa Fako (violin), Cheryl Wilson (viola), Paula Kosower (cello), and Rob Kassinger (double bass).

From the liner notes by Howard Mandel:

"Sarabande Blue is a rare, indeed perhaps unique instance of finely detailed writing for unamplified strings along with inspired improvisation arriving at a warm, well-balanced blend."

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August 13, 2020

I also play the Mexican requinto. Here's a new home project: Historia de un amor, for 4 requintos, guitar, bass, and percussion:

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July 29, 2020

The DIGITAL edition of my book Jazz Guitar Harmony - The Melodic Approach is now available, PDF + audio examples. Price: $20.

Order the book HERE

"I know aspiring guitarists will love this book."
Jazz guitar master Larry Coryell (full-length quote on back cover)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 7, 2020

Sarabande Blue, the CD of all original music with my Stringtet is completed. Release is being planned for October 2020.

 

 

I am currently writing music for a world music CD, to be recorded in August of 2020. The CD will be a mixture of Balkan folk songs and elements of jazz and concert music, written for a 9-piece acoustic band with a folk singer, accordion, acoustic guitar, ethnic percussion, and string quintet.

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December 22, 2019

Welcome to my new website! This May/June I taught for five weeks at the jazz department of Goce Delčev University in Štip, Macedonia as a Fulbright Specialist. I also played several gigs with excellent local musicians in Skopje and Ohrid. It was a lovely experience. In July I taught at Jamey Aebersold's Summer Jazz Workshops in Louisville, Kentucky, working for one of my heroes. This August I recorded a CD of all original music with my string band, Zvonimir Tot's Jazz Stringtet. The release is expected in the fall of 2020. Here's a small sample from a recent concert: Video

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