Zvonimir Tot (z-VON-e-mere TOTE) is a Chicago-based jazz guitarist, composer, and arranger with a style deeply rooted in the jazz tradition but flavored by his European origin. He holds too many university degrees. Tot has performed in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Croatia. He has performed and/or recorded with many world-renowned musicians, including:
- Saxophonists Chris Potter, Scott Hamilton, Billy Harper, Jamey Aebersold and Peter King
- Violinists Johnny Frigo and Stefan Milenkovich
- Pianists Larry Novak and Larry Vuckovich
- Guitarists Philip Catherine, Henry Johnson and Paulinho Garcia
- Organist Joey DeFrancesco
- Bassists Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, John Clayton and Hein Van de Geyn
- Harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy
- Drummers Ernie Adams, Paul Wertico and Byron Landham
- Vocalists Patricia Barber, Jackie Allen and Carmen Lundy
Zvonimir Tot is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Music at University of Illinois at Chicago and currently teaches jazz guitar, harmony, ear training, counterpoint and jazz ensembles. He is the founder and owner of Groove Art Records, as well as full member of ASCAP, GRAMMY, Jazz Education Network (JEN), and American Composers Forum. Tot has recorded five CDs as a leader: Standards Live at the Jazz Showcase (Groove Art Records, 2016), Eloquent Silence (Chicago Sessions, 2009), Unspoken Desire (Groove Art Records, 2007), Blue Quest (Groove Art Records, 2007), and Travels and Dreams (Groove Art Records, 2004), as well as numerous CDs as a sideman for various labels. Since 2005, Zvonimir Tot’s biography has been included in WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA , published by Marquis Publishing. He is an endorsing artist for Godin electric/MIDI guitars, Taylor acoustic guitars, Acoustic Image amplifiers, Raezer's Edge speakers and D'Addario strings.
GRAMMY-The Recording Academy (Full voting member)
Jazz Education Network
American Composers Forum
Pi Kappa Lambda
SHORT QUOTES (for full-length articles go to Reviews):
I know aspiring guitarists will love this book.
Jazz guitar master Larry Coryell about the book Jazz Guitar Harmony - The Melodic Approach
(Tot's) haunting reading of guitarist Luis Bonfá's masterpiece "Black Orpheus" shimmers with lyricism as his strings sparkle in the expectant silent pauses.
Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine
(...) Zvonimir Tot (is) an exceptional jazz guitarist. The fluidity of his technique, the bent-note expressiveness of his pitch and the sleekly melodic quality of his improvisations have earned him wide admiration.
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
When he improvises, Zvonimir evidences many things, from the intensity of a conservatory virtuoso to the serene patience of a Zen guru, and always, the love of lore that characterizes griots and troubadours the world over.
Neil Tesser, Jazz critic; author, Playboy Guide to Jazz
Zvonimir Tot is the hot new voice in the world of jazz guitar virtuosos.
Judy Roberts, Chicago Jazz Magazine
Tot keeps one-upping himself with every disc he puts out, and Eloquent Silence is a fantastic example of just how brilliant a guitarist, writer and arranger he is. (from the review of Eloquent Silence)
...Blue Quest is always grooving, from first note to last. (...) All in all, this is a spectacular disc...
Paul Abella, Chicago Jazz Magazine
...Tot throws out some greasy guitar licks that are simply fantastic.
Dan Bilawsky, Jazz Improv Magazine
His “Lady Agatha,” (…) has a deliberate delicacy, a ballad that unfolds at a measured pace, with Tot's playing glowing with a beautifully ethereal quality.
Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
(Z.T.) ...is an extrovert soloist who plays from the heart. He improvises with a typical Balkan singing quality, an intense feeling for the blues, rich imagination, and unbelievably fast fingers.
Jeroen de Valk, Dutch jazz critic, Het Parool, Amsterdam
...Travels and Dreams is a remarkable disc and Zvonimir Tot is someone deserving far greater recognition.
Rich Friedman, All About Jazz
Zvonimir Tot's rapid fire guitar sets the pace in this fine ensemble. His ballad style also highlights this recording with soulful elegance. (...) 4 stars.
John Gilbert, ejazznews.com
His virtuoso guitar technique (...) has much to offer to the adventurous and serious jazz lover.
Prof. Richard Wang, Jazz educator and publicist, Former President, Jazz Institute of Chicago
His sound is inspired by all, from Kenny Burrell to Pat Metheny but yet distinctly his own.
Marshall Vente, Jazz Institute of Chicago
Tot is an inspirational player of the guitar; (...) his largamente style feels like one big stretch.
Ferdinand Maylin, JazzNow
Such beautiful music from some scary looking guys.
Comment by a YouTube user
Zvonimir Tot is available as:
Jazz guitarist: swing, bebop, latin, contemporary jazz; live and studio projects
Bandleader: Various formations, duo-quintet (with or without vocals), original music and jazz standards. Please contact me for details.
Composer/arranger: Do you need an original jazz or concert music composition/arrangement, written for any combination of instruments/voices? The final product includes ready-to-perform printed score and parts, as well as an optional synthesizer demo. Check the arrangement of "Body and Soul" for 8 singers, string orchestra and rhythm section.
Clinician: Available for clinics and seminars on improvisation (all instruments), jazz guitar, arranging, theory/harmony (jazz and classical), ear training (jazz and classical), and jazz combo.
Private Instructor: Jazz guitar, improvisation (all instruments), arranging, theory/harmony (jazz and classical), ear training (jazz and classical). Please contact me at zt(at)zt-music.com for availability and rates.
University professor: If you are interested in majoring in jazz guitar, you can study with me at University of Illinois at Chicago (contingent on GPA and passing the audition).