Autobiography - Cozzetti & Gemmill

Bob Cozzetti and I met my senior year in high school ('67)when I was playing tenor saxophone & flute in the Jimmy Hanna Big Band. Bob was responsible for me being in the band. He and Jim Ogilvy (stage name; Jimmy Hanna) were friends, having grown up together on Capital Hill. Bob was mostly trained on trumpet; self taught on piano. His most notable teachers were the late Roy Cummings and Mark Doubleday; lead trumpet man in The Dynamics (famous Northwest dance band). I attended the Long Beach State College Stage Band Camp in '65 and was exposed to some great jazz artists; bassist Ralph Pena and pianist Toshiko Mariano. My favorite saxophone teachers were Jordan Ruwe and Jabba Ward (of Seattle). I also spent time with David Friesen, studying musical concepts, etc.

We began to practice our horns together and study music theory. Bob was very much into Miles Davis (at that time) and had a good ear (a sweet tone on his trumpet). I had a lot of formal training (attended Long Beach State College Stage Band Camp in '65) and was exposed to excellent sax teachers (Roy Kennelly, Jordan Ruwe, Jabbo Ward, etc.). I tried to help further Bob's knowledge of scales, chordal progressions and musical ideas. We could jam almost any night at an after-hours club in the University District (the Queequeg), run by pianist/bassist Jerry Heldman: and we did a lot of jamming. It was quite the experience; sitting in on our instruments in front of a live audience. Larry Coryell, McCoy Tyner, the Adderley brothers (Cannonball & Nat) and other jazz legends, in town (usually appearing at the Penthouse), sat in at the Queequeg (later named the Llahngaelhyn). This was a very good time for music in the Seattle area.

In 1968, Bob and I began to combine our talents as a trumpet, flute & saxophone section for hire. We spent a year in Los Angeles playing with various rock & roll bands, then moved to Boston, Massachusetts (so we could check out the Berklee College of Music). While in Boston, we played with different bands (mostly rhythm & blues). One such group, led by a fellow 'nicknamed' Shorty (leader and vocalist) was anything but ordinary. He would do full body flips on stage, as part of his act. It was always entertaining, but not the type of group we were looking for. After a few months, we returned home to Seattle.

Now back in town, Bob and I helped form an avant-garde six-piece jazz orchestra; Cosmic Revolution Jazz Sextet. We had wanted, for some time, to get away from the rock & R&B scene and get back to our roots. In this particular group, Bob was now performing on the acoustic piano, rather than trumpet. Although we had both studied piano for years, this was the first time either of us had performed on it in public. One of the reasons for this was that we had invited a friend (Charles Jefferson) to play trumpet. Charles was a classical trumpeter, whom had taken an interest in jazz. It was fun to see him adjust his technique to the more flowing and open intricacies of innovative music. Steve Swartz was our drummer (it should be noted that we already knew Steve from our earlier days at the Queequeg), Mike Jacobsen was brought on board to play cello and Pete Leinonen was our standup bassist. Of all our groups, this was, by far, the most unusual. We had a enjoyable time writing, arranging and performing (mostly outdoor concerts) with CRJS.

The Cosmic Revolution Jazz Sextet was an educational experience for sure, but it did not last long. Bob, I and Steve soon had an opportunity to join a newly formed band; Ron Holden & Good News. Ron was a talented song writer, vocalist & showman, who had a following from his 1959 hit song 'Love You So', which became an international Top-10 hit, selling over one million records (according to Ron). The group was a mixture of rock 'n' roll and rhythm & blues; sort of like Taj Mahal, James Brown, Chicago & Blood, Sweat & Tears, with some original material by us to keep things interesting. Gary Snyder (electric bass) was the bass man with Jimmy Hanna’s Dynamics (famous Seattle rock band). Gary brought with him vast experience and a unique style of play. Toby Cyer (electric guitar) was also quite gifted; a cross between Hendrix and Peter Frampton. Steve Swartz (drums & percussion) was simply excellent. Ron Holden & Good News exhibited a camaraderie amongst the musicians that was rare, making our time together rewarding (about eight months).

In early 1970, we (including Steve Swartz) opted for a more simple approach and formed a three-piece jazz/fusion group; Music Projection Trio. This collaboration (with no bass player) would come to be a learning experience for us. The absence of bass (and rotating between trumpet, saxophone & keyboards), gave us a sound all our own. It is worth mentioning, that Bob had become friends with Mr. Harold Rhodes (inventor of the Fender-Rhodes electric piano). Harold, motivated by our situation (no bass), helped solve this little problem by enhancing the lower range of the instrument. As a result; we were able to play full-bodied bass lines with our left hand and solos, chords, etc., with our right. We never did use a bass player in this jazz trio. In October '70, we were asked to perform as an opening act for Herbie Hancock and his sextet at the Ebonee Club (1214 Pike Street) by promoter and saxophonist Joe Brazil. I had played tenor saxophone (with Joe on alto) in an innovative large orchestra; the James Gardner Jazz Orchestra. James Gardner was a trombonist and composer (his arrangments were similar to Oliver Nelson). Getting back to Joe; we appreciated the opportunity to exhibit our talents (MPT) with such a prominant artist as Herbie (he actually gave BC a piano lesson before our gig). Billy Hart (the drummer) told us he really liked our group. A month later, we performed at the Jazz Ragtime Festival with Ramsey Lewis, the late John Lee Hooker, the late Jo Jordan and the late Eubie Blake.

In June 1971, we appeared at a promotional event for the opening of the film Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen. This concert took place in the parking lot at the 7th Avenue Theater (with sixty new and exotic Porsches) in downtown Seattle. In August, we performed at the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre; event called Rock Kaleidoscope, sponsored by the city of Seattle and Mayor Wes Uhlman. We did a lot of concerts for the city of Seattle. We received a letter from the Mayor in September '71, thanking us for all the work we did performing (mostly for free). We always loved doing outdoor concerts for large crowds. Fun in the sun. Even more significant (May 1972), was our gig with Charles Lloyd and his quartet at the Fresh Air Tavern (Seattle). Performing for an entire week with Charles Lloyd was quite the experience (one I will never forget). He would stand at the side of the stage (while we played) and just listen. He never said anything, but I know he approved of the music. I got nothing but good vibes from him. We improvised a lot and only performed our own material. That was our way. Bob and I took turns being out front; him on his trumpet and me on my saxophones. We got a lot of music out just three instruments (horn, keyboards & drums). As with Herbie (Hancock), I think Charles found Music Projection Trio to be uniquely interesting. Steve was a really good drummer (kept a solid beat, etc.).

In September 1972, we (Music Projection Trio) ventured back east, again (this time with Steve), settling in Hackensack, New Jersey. Our intent, was to be as close to the city (New York City), as possible. NYC (especially, Manhattan) was 'the place' for jazz. Bob and I wanted to learn from the masters. Fortunately, we got our wish, as we were soon able to perform at clubs and concerts all over the area; venues like Kenny’s Castaways (where we opened for Mongo Santamaria's Latin Big Band), the Mercer Arts Center (some really wild bands performed in the Rock Room; the New York Dolls & Blondie), the United Nations Concert Hall (in front of delegates), Columbia and Princeton Universities, etc. We also were around some great jazz musicians; Albert Daley (traded sets with his group at the Mercer Arts Center in the Blue Room and Sam Rivers (Bob used to hang out with Sam at clubs; such as the Village Vanguard). I tried to get a saxophone lesson from Joe Henderson (didn't work out for me; Joe was one serious dude). However, the most significant time of our stay occurred when we stumbled upon Topper Schroeder. He was the artist/relations manager for Milestone Records (later, RCA RECORDS). At this time, he was handling some of the most popular artists alive; Elvis, John Denver, David Bowie, etc. So, when Topper talked, we listened. He took a special interest in our music right away, soon after hearing us perform at a jazz club. He would offer helpful constructive comments about how we could improve and was solely responsible for changing our name to Rorschach. Topper was of the opinion that our music (jazz, jazz-rock, new age, etc.) could be interpreted differently by different people in the audience. Thus, your Rorschach test. Our time with Mr. Schroeder was crucial to our career. We should also mention that Topper was one great chef. He was often referred to as the galloping gourmet of RCA. I remember us having dinner at his condo, on Park Avenue (Manhattan), with Todd Rundgren. After a while, though, we traveled, once again, back to Seattle (as Rorschach) and began performing at clubs and concerts.

Steve had left Rorschach in New Jersey, so we had to find a new drummer. It was during this period, that we began to experiment with different musicians. We also decided to become a jazz quartet. Our bass players were Jeff Fiorini, Bruce Phares or Steve Bartlett. Our favorite drum and percussionist was Fred Taylor (Bob Merrihew played with us later on; Soft Flower in Spring). Bartlett and Taylor just seemed to fit the best with us at that time. We had good chemistry together and everybody knew what to do. You can't really teach somebody how to innovate or develop a style all their own. They either feel it (the music) or they don't. We never used charts, so you were pretty much on your own with us. Sometimes, we just agreed on a key and that was it; we were off and running. One significant event worth mentioning was an appearance by Rorschach on May 22, 1976 with the legendary jazz guitarist Larry Coryell at Bellevue Jazz Festival (Bellevue, Washington). It should be noted, that Bruce Phares and Fred Taylor played with us at this festival. Once again, though, we decided to travel back to Hackensack, New Jersey. We also spent some time in Arvada, Colorado along the trek east; played at some jazz clubs and did a concert at the University of Denver.

Bob and I found Midge Pike playing stand-up bass in a French restaurant, in Manhattan. Midge could play any song in any key, without the sheet music; a phenomenal musician who had complete command of his instrument. And a nice person too. He had played with some great saxophonists; Jackie McLean, Albert Ayler & Paul Winter. Midge told us he had worked with Miles Davis. We hit it off right from the start and he was soon playing bass in our group (Rorschach). We also had Bruce Jackson or Wes Jensen performing on drums with us. Bob and I were writing new material and booking gigs. Things were good; lots of music. In May 1977, we were invited to perform at an outdoor concert series put on at Lincoln Center. Midge (bass) and Bruce Jackson (drums) played with us on this gig, which reviewer Dick Murphy briefly mentioned in a June 1, 1977 writeup in his column And All That Jazz. We also performed at The Bitter End (famous night club) and United Nations (in front of the delegates). We also took part in a summer concert series (Brooklyn) at the Brooklyn Museum's Theater in the Back. After the summer concerts were over, we returned to Seattle. A highlight of our return in January 1978, was appearing at Parnell's in Pioneer Square, Seattle (a well-known night club). Fred Taylor and Steve Bartlett played with us at Parnell's. We made a decision to begin using our own names; the Cozzetti & Gemmill Quartet. Later (1983), we dropped the quartet and just went with Cozzetti & Gemmill. However; there are people out there that still refer to us as Rorschach.


Concerto For Padré (1981) was our first album (on vinyl). It was released under our own label (Cozgem Records). It features Fred Taylor (drums & percussion), Steve Bartlett (fretless electric bass). BC (trumpet & acoustic piano) and me (tenor and soprano saxophones, Fender-Rhodes electric piano, acoustic piano). This album was recorded at Pacific West Recorders March 16, 1981 in Redmond, Washington. Derek du Nann was the mixing engineer and QCA was the mastering and duplication company. We have been doing business with Jim Bosken (President of QCA) for more than thirty years. Jim used to press albums for The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Concerto for Padré was dedicated to Bob's father, who passed away in 1974. Lee Underwood (West Coast Editor; Down Beat) writes in the album liner notes that "Cozzetti's unaccompanied acoustic piano solo on the title track Concert For Padre is outstanding. He opens with a powerful, classically-oriented foray into the bass and mid ranges, and gradually emerges into a tender melodic section, played with sensitive compassion and elegant conviction. The element of serenity runs like a silver thread throughout the entire performance, and makes "Concerto For Padre" one of the most heart-felt highlights on this LP." Lee Underwood goes on to say that "Concerto for Padre marks an auspicious debut for the Cozzetti-Gemmill Quartet. They display talent, conviction, enthusiasm, sensitivity and good taste. By respecting the great past of American jazz, and by expressing the soul and vision of their living present, they show great promise for the ever-evolving future." ... read more..

Soft Flower in Spring (1984) was vinyl album #2, released through an independent label (ITI Records). Featured are Steve Bartlett (bass), Bob Merrihew, now on the drums, BC (trumpet, Memorymoog synthesizer, acoustic piano) and me (tenor & soprano saxophones, Memorymoog synthesizer, acoustic piano). Bob and I wrote the music for Soft Flower in Spring. We always composed original music for either on stage or in the studio. Performing other artist's material just did not appeal to us. Michael Dion (owner ITI Records) was Executive Producer for this album, Lary Nefzger; chief engineer (Triad Studios, Redmond, Washington), mastering by Kdisc Mastering (Hollywood, California), art director; Vince DeNardo (The Production House) and photos by Brian Hart. Down Beat critic A. James Liska wrote in the liner notes that "The democratic spirit evident in Soft Flower in Spring, the second album by the two-some's quartet, reflects a rare cooperative effort in design, direction and detail whose teamwork is as impressive as the music. Cozzetti & Gemmill share not only in the responsibilities of composing and arranging (there are an equal number of individual and collaborative efforts contained herein), but in their instrumental duties (both are keyboardists who share piano and synthesizer responsibilities)." ... read more. Concerto for Padré and Soft Flower in Spring can both be found being traded on Ebay, after more than three decades. We always seem to find that amusing.

Timeless (1994/2010) converted vinyl albums Concerto for Padré and Soft Flower in Spring to compact disc; digitally remastered with new graphics. Lary "Larz" Nefzger was our mixing engineer for the latest release, in 2010, and Ashley Shepherd was mastering engineer (courtesy of QCA). Sweet Dreams (included on the 1994 release) was excluded on the 2010 version. It was difficult to get all the music onto one CD. We do have Sweet Dreams in .mp3 format available on Music on the Web® (click here). All graphic art design has been done by me, ever since the release of Concerto for Padré. As I said, in our 1995 interview with Evolution TV, "the art helps me to get ideas for the music and the music helps me to get ideas for the art."

Voyage of the Mummy (2011) is a Rorschach recording (tapes that had been in storage for more than thirty years). Voyage contains material from our 1977 concert at Gerdes Folk City, in Greenwich Village. Midge Pike performs on electric bass, Wes Jensen on drums, Bob on Fender-Rhodes electric piano and me on my Conn soprano saxophone. On this particular warm summer night, in New York City, we didn't feel like switching instruments. Bob just wanted to play electric piano and I was perfectly happy to explore the universe with my soprano. Something about the New York jazz clubs back then, you just felt like taking the music to new levels. We used to record lots of gigs and this was a special one. Bob Dylan got his start at Gerdes back in the 1960s. If you like avant-garde jazz (from the 1970s), this album will satisfy your musical tastes.

Road Songs (2013) was recorded 'exclusively' in Cozgem Studios. This album is a departure from the others and has been referred to as digital jazz. I like to look at it as just good music; easy listening. All songs (except the J. S. Bach piece) were composed and arranged by me and/or Bob and I (Red Valley). Jay kenney is an exceptional mixing engineer and Dave Davis did a great job mastering the album. The mix has very minimal effects and there was no noise reduction applied in the mastering process. The sound is extremely clean. Our .mp3 files are created from 48khertz 32 bit stereo wave files (high-quality 'digital' downloads). QCA has been our preferred duplication company, since 1981. This album delves into the world of synthesizers and electronic music; and digital programmed instrumentation (MIDI). Alice Neiley writes in her review August 22, 2014 "Tim Gemmill, an emerging artist, recently released Road Songs, an unusually solid, soulful album, especially for the electro genre. The tracks move between lengthy, synthesized epics, playful, funk ridden pieces, and pieces rooted in classical themes and West African instrumentation. To say the least, it's eclectic. To say the most, it's a life and all its rhythms, it's a heartbeat." ... read more.

Tim Gemmill

1981: Cozzetti & Gemmill Quartet - Concerto For Padré (Cozgem Records)

1984: Cozzetti & Gemmill - Soft Flower in Spring (ITI Records)

1994: Cozzetti & Gemmill - Timeless (Rocka Records)

2010: Cozzetti & Gemmill - Timeless (Cozgem Records)

2011: Cozzetti & Gemmill (Rorschach) - Voyage of the Mummy (Cozgem Records)

2013: Tim Gemmill - Road Songs (Cozgem Records)

© 2015 - Music on the Web®. All Rights Reserved.