July 25, 2017

I just returned from teaching at the Aebersold camp (Louisville, Kentucky) - a true privilege. I also had the opportunity to reconnect with Barry Harris, a jazz piano giant and mentor who changed my life as a musician 20 years ago.



June 13, 2017

This summer has been busy. I am finishing the CD recording of my string group, Zvonimir Tot's Jazz Stringtet. Also, I just returned from Cape Town, South Africa, where I recorded a duo CD with bassist Hein Van de Geyn and gave a master class at the University of Cape Town. I am currently in Serbia, playing a series of concerts and club gigs in Novi Sad and Belgrade. During the first half of July, I will be back in the States teaching at Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops in Louisville, Kentucky, THE camp that started it all.


January 10, 2016

The new book is in stock and ready to ship! Jazz Guitar Harmony - The Melodic Approach can be ordered securely via PayPal (PayPal account is NOT required) HERE.


December 27, 2015

My new book Jazz Guitar Harmony - The Melodic Approach will be published in January 2016 by Jamey Aebersold Jazz. Ordering info coming soon. Please attend my book lecture/demonstration at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) annual conference at 2 p.m. on January 9 in Louisville, Kentucky. Location: Galt Hotel, Clinic Room #4/Willis-2nd Floor Suite Tower. Quote by jazz guitar master Larry Coryell: "I know aspiring guitarists will love this book"


September 15, 2015

Two new projects are nearing completion:

1. I finished my first book. The title is Jazz Guitar Harmony - The Melodic Approach. The book (with play-along CD) will be published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz in January 2016. See my book presentation at the Jazz Education Network conference in Louisville, KY.

2. Double live CD Standards Live at the Jazz Showcase with bassist Kelly Sill will be released on Groove Art Records this winter.


March 7, 2014

Mark Sonksen's excellent jazz-tango CD "Vicisitudes" has just been released. I am happy to have played on this project.


January 8, 2014

My composition Credo for mixed choir will be premiered at the New Voices festival of contemporary music in Washington, D.C. on January 25th.


April 18, 2013

The book "The Great Jazz Guitarists" by the prominent Los Angeles-based author Scott Yanow has just been published by Hal Leonard. It contains biographies of the most notable jazz guitarists ranging from the early days to today. My biography is included, so a humble THANKS to Mr. Yanow. The book can be ordered HERE.


April 3, 2012

On March 13, bassist Kelly Sill and I recorded a live CD at the legendary Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Three videos from the gig are posted on YouTube. Photography by Michael Coakes.

February 16, 2012

I now proudly endorse Taylor acoustic guitars: Outstanding acoustic guitars, equally brilliant in purely acoustic situations and amplified. I currently use the Taylor 814CE model.


November 2, 2011

New CD release "Bright Morning" by Johnny Padilla, Milwaukee-based saxophonist, featuring myself on all tracks:


November 1, 2011

I now proudly endorse D'Addario strings:

D'Addario strings: I have been using D'Addario strings exclusively for over 20 years. All of my leader and sideman CDs were recorded with D'Addarios. I use a custom Nickel Wound set: .012, .016, .022 plain, .030, .039, .049. I also use Pro Arte series classical guitar strings. Clarity and reliability of these strings make them a natural choice for a serious musician.


September 8, 2011

I have been invited to present a clinic on the methodology of teaching jazz guitar harmony at the annual conference of the Jazz Education Network in Louisville, Kentucky on January 5th, 2012. The details can be found on the CONFERENCE PAGE.


September 6, 2011

Quite a few things have happened musically, despite the chronic lack of updates on this page. Here are the highlights.

Three CDs have been released: "Born Again" with co-leader saxophonist Ivan Švager was released in Serbia on the label Vertical Jazz. The CD features compositions by Mr. Švager and myself, with Branko Marković on bass and Dušan Ivanišević on drums. CD "Convergence" by the Mark Sonksen Quartet features modern jazz originals by Mark Sonksen, with Jim Massoth on sax and Andre Beasley on drums. Finally, "Postales del Sur" is a jazz-tango CD recorded in Chicago and Buenos Aires, featuring compositions by Mark Sonksen.



May 3, 2009

The new CD Eloquent Silence will be released around May 20. CDs can be securely ordered HERE. Please hear the sound samples HERE. Please support the label Chicago Sessions by subscribing to their first season HERE. Chicago Sessions releases one CD per month, featuring original music by the best Chicago jazz musicians. The core band consists of Larry Gray on bass, Ernie Adams on drums and myself. Featured guests are Orbert Davis (trumpet), Mark Colby (tenor sax), Stefan Milenkovich (violin) and Julie Koidin (alto flute)


December 10, 2008

Ouch! I seriously neglected the news updates. Let me try to make up:

- I received a commission from the brilliant classical violinist Stefan Milenkovich to compose a modern-day Sarabande for his next recording. We recorded "Sarabande Blue" in May, featuring Stefan on violin, Larry Gray on double bass and myself on guitar. The record should be released in a few months.

- My new CD will be recorded for the Chicago-based label Chicago Sessions. We will be recording a CD of all original music in February. The release is planned in May. The core band will consist of Larry Gray on bass, Ernie Adams on drums and myself. Featured guests will be Orbert Davis (trumpet), Mark Colby (tenor sax), Stefan Milenkovich (violin) and Julie Koidin (alto flute)

- I will soon begin composing a string quartet commission for the Balkan Quartet based in Athens, Georgia.


November 29, 2007

New CD Release: CD "Unspoken Desire" has just been released on Groove Art Records. Please join us for the release gig on Saturday, December 1, 2007 at La Piazza, 410 Circle Ave., Forest Park, IL. I will be playing with the Brazilian master Paulinho Garcia on acoustic guitar and vocals. The CD can be purchased HERE.


March 24 , 2007

Check out some new Reviews of Blue Quest.

Blue Quest is also receiving airplay on about 95 radio stations nationwide:

KMXT Kodiak AK; WJAB Huntsville AL; KUAZ Tucson AZ; KRML-AM Carmel CA; KFSR Fresno CA; KVPR Fresno CA; KCSM-FM Hillsdale CA; KKJZ Long Beach, CA; KMFB Mendocino CA; KSDS San Diego, CA; KSJS San Jose CA; KCBX San Luis Obispo, CA; KUSP Santa Cruz CA; KCSS Turlock CA; KRFC Ft. Collins CO; KUNC Ft. Collins CO; KVNF Paonia CO; WECS Willimantic CT; WWUH W. Hartford CT; WUFT Gainesville FL; WFIT Melbourne, FL; WDNA Miami FL; WUCF Orlando, FL; WUWF Pensacola, FL; WUSF Tampa, FL; WRFG Atlanta, GA; WHCJ Savannah GA; KWIT Sioux City IA; WXRT-2 Chicago IL; WDCB Glen Ellyn, IL; WFIU Bloomington, IN; WVPE Elkhart IN; WICR Indianapolis IN; KANU Lawrence, KS; KMUW Wichita KS; WFPK Louisville, KY; WTUL New Orleans LA; WWOZ New Orleans, LA; WMUA Amherst MA; WFCR Amherst MA; WGBH-2 Boston, MA; WMBR Cambridge MA; WTCC Springfield MA; WICN Worchester, MA; WESM Princes Anne MD; WERU Searsmont ME; WDET Detroit, MI; WKAR E. Lansing, MI; WCMU/WUCX Mt. Pleasant, MI; WNMC Traverse City MI; KUMD Duluth, MN; KBEM Minneapolis, MN; KJLU Jefferson City MO; KUMR Rolla, MO; WFSS Fayetteville, NC; WNNC Newton NC; WSHA Raleigh, NC; WFDD Winston-Salem, NC; KIOS Omaha NE; KUNM Albuqueque NM; KSFR Sante Fe NM; KTAO Taos NM; KUNV Las Vegas, NV; WCDB Albany NY; WITR Rochester NY; WAER Syracuse, NY; WBGU Bowling Green OH; WCLV Cleveland OH; WRUW Cleveland, OH; WJZA/WJZK Columbus OH; WXTS Toledo, OH; KLCC Eugene, OR; KMHD Portland OR; KBOO Portland, OR; WDIY Bethlehem PA; WQLN Erie PA; WSYC Shippensburg PA; WRIU Kingston, RI; KUSD Vermillion SD; WUMR Memphis, TN; KVLU Beaumont, TX; KETR Commerce TX; KNTU Denton TX; KTEP El Paso TX; KTSU Houston, TX; KUER Salt Lake City, UT; WRIR Richmond VA; WVTF Roanoke, VA; WRUV Burlington VT; WNCS Montpelier, VT; VT Pub Rad Windsor VT; KEWU Cheney WA; WLSU La Crosse, WI; WWSP Stevens Point WI; WWVU Morgantown WV.


January 3, 2007

My new CD Blue Quest will be released on Monday, February 5, 9 p.m. - 1:30 a.m. at Andy's Jazz Club in Chicago. Please join Larry Gray (bass), Charles Heath (drums) and myself for a fun night.

Also, my trio will be playing at Andy's every Monday in January and February from 5 - 8:30, except for the CD release on February 5 (time: 9 - 1:30).

The new CD will be available through this site, as well as through CD Baby and many digital download sites.

August 15, 2006

We just finished recording my next Trio CD last night at Chicago Recording Company. The engineer is Dennis Tousana. This gentleman has great ears! Two long but fun days in the studio. The CD will feature nine original compositions and an arrangement of Just a Closer Walk with Thee. There is a great rhythm section on the record: Larry Gray on double bass and Charles Heath on drums. Now mixing and mastering... I'll write more once I know about the release date.


April 22 , 2006

Planning is underway for my next trio CD. We should record in August, featuring all original music.

Come to The House Cafe in DeKalb, Illinois on May 3rd For an evening with the Steve Duke Trio. See the Schedule page for details.


March 28 , 2005

An interesting project is being realized on Friday, April 1st: In addition to playing with an exciting new trio (Steve Duke-sax and Marlene Rosenberg-bass), we will be playing at an exhibition featuring digital art photography of ourselves at the LIPA Gallery in Chicago. The author is Kevin Evensen. Please see the details HERE. Hope to see you there!


February 8 , 2005

A very nice review of "Travels and Dreams" (4 stars) has just been published on ejazznews. Click HERE to read the review.

January 3 , 2005

I will be attending the annual IAJE conference (International Association for Jazz Education) in Long Beach, California between January 4 and Jan. 8. If you are there and wish to get in touch, please call my cell phone at (630) 946-4450. Hope to see you there!


December 17, 2004

I will soon be playing with a dream rhythm section: Larry Gray on bass and
Paul Wertico on drums! Please visit the
Schedule page for updates.

August 29 , 2004

A neat bit of news: I've been selected for Marquis Who's Who in America. My biography will appear in the 2005 edition, available in October 2004.

June 21, 2004

I've moved! Please note the new telephone numbers:

Tel: (630) 759-0123
Cell: (630) 946-4450

On June 27th my quartet will be performing a JAZZ AT SUNSET FESTIVAL. If you can't be there, tune in to 90.9 FM WDCB for a live broadcast. Please see the details on the Schedule page.


April 12, 2004

Another neat review of Travels and Dreams has just been published in All About Jazz. To read the review, please click HERE.


March 4, 2004

My CD Travels and Dreams is now also available for purchase through CD Baby. If you wish to buy the CD through CD Baby, please click HERE. Of course, you can also make your purchase SECURELY through this website. Your payment is processed via PayPal. Sound samples are available at both sites. Thanks for listening!


February 1, 2004

I will be playing some fun duo gigs at the beautiful historic Hotel Baker in St. Charles, IL. The hotel has recently been fully renovated and the owners wish to renew the live jazz tradition associated with this place. Let me mention just two details: Back in the day, even Louis Armstrong played here! Also, Marion McPartland played her first professional gigs here. Please check the details on the Schedule page. Hope to see you there!


November 10 , 2003

We had a fun evening at Chambers playing for my "Travels and Dreams" CD Release Party. Thanks to Art, Nick, and Rusty for their (as usual) great playing, Joe Maranto for organizing the event, and Milt Erickson for publicity and pictures. Here are a few of Milt's photos:



November 10 , 2003

New Z.T. CD (as a sideman) Another piece of news is that the CD "Hopalong" by Nick Tountas has just become available. Check out Nick's cool original tunes (some witty, some introspective) as well as a few choice standards. We had great fun recording this one. The personnel is: Nick Tountas (bass), myself on guitar, Rusty Jones (drums), and as a guest Larry Novak (piano). The CD can be ordered through Nick's website: www.nicktountas.com

"Like all of Nick's music, this album is bursting with originality, intensity and humor. The terrific rapport he has with Rusty Jones, Zvonimir Tot and Larry Novak is typical of Nick's style of musical sharing."

Judy Roberts - Chicago Jazz Magazine


September 25, 2003

CD Release Party for my new CD "Travels and Dreams" with Zvonimir Tot Quartet will take place on October 26 at Chambers in Niles. Come join us for a fun evening! No cover! Get the details on the Schedule Page.


September 25, 2003

I will be playing some nice leader gigs at Anthony's in Elgin on September 26, and October 3 &4. Please see the details on the Schedule Page.


August 11, 2003

Hi, I'm back in the Chicagoland after a month in Europe. I played a bunch of fun gigs with old friends.

Please check some new leader dates in and around Chicago. On August 22nd Z.T. Quartet will be playing at Pops for Champagne in Chicago with special guest tenorman Greg Fishman. Also, a couple of fun duo dates with bassist Nick Tountas are coming up at Cafe Magdalena (Elgin) on August 15th and 29th. Hope to see you on some of these. Please find all the details on the Schedule page. Also, WDCB Public Radio 90.9 FM has been playing many tunes from my newly released CD "Travels and Dreams". Tune in!


June 10 , 2003

I will be in Europe until July 14, gigging with old friends and spending time with my family. If you need to contact me about a gig after July 14, please email or call, I will be checking my messages every couple of days. Summerly Yours, Z.T.


May 20, 2003

The new CD is finally out, after a short manufacturer's delay. All of you who ordered the CD through this website should receive your copy in 2 days at the latest. Thanks for your patience!

April 23, 2003

Welcome to my Web site! After a lot of work by many people my new CD “Travels and Dreams” is just about ready for release. The expected release date is May 2nd. You will hear 12 original compositions that range in style from straight-ahead jazz to funk. Many thanks to the band: Art Davis, Nick Tountas, and Rusty Jones. Please hear some sound samples on the Audio and Video Page. You can also order the CD through this website.

Another exciting piece of news (for me) is that a composition of mine for mixed choir and string orchestra “Ave Maria” is being premiered in Chicago on Friday, May 2nd - a coincidence, believe it or not. Please find the details on the Schedule Page.