Born: February 6, 1922 | Died: October 8, 1964 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Conrad Gozzo was a highly accomplished first call trumpet player, and as studio musician, appeared on countless recordings, radio shows, television and film soundtracks during his tenure in Los Angeles. Gozzo was a member of the NBC Hollywood staff orchestra at the time of his death in October, 1964,at age 42.
Gozzo was considered a child prodigy who was greatly influenced and tutored by his father also a trumpeter. Gozzo’s early success began at age eight, winning a local contest for his performance of the challenging “Bride of the Waves” solo.
Gozzo’s first professional experiences were with with the Carter Brothers Orchestra, and then in 1938 he joined Isham Jones. During the 1940’s he would go on to play with the orchestras of Tommy Reynolds, Red Norvo, Claude Thornhill, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw’s Navy Ranger Band, and Woody Herman’s First Herd, all before Gozzo had reached the age of 25.
Gozzo, the 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.
When Glenn Miller needed a lead trumpet player, his friends pledged for him to hire Conrad Gozzo. Upon hearing Gozzo, Glenn remarked that he had never heard a trumpet sound like that.
Frank Sinatra would work his schedule around Gozzo's to ensure that The Goz was his lead trumpet player at every possible show.
The Goz, as he was 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. Upon recording this signature song, in one take, Gozzo received a standing ovation from the studio members.
In recognition of his contribution to the art of trumpeting the LeBlanc Company issued the Conrad Gozzo 770 Model LeBlanc trumpet.