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Thom Rotella

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Biography

A technically skilled guitarist, Thom Rotella is capable of playing both commercial jazz and in a style influenced by Wes Montgomery. When he was six he started playing for the fun of it on his grandfather's guitar and he began serious guitar lessons when he was ten. As a teenager, Rotella played rock but soon discovered jazz through Wes Montgomery's recordings. He went to Ithaca College (as a classical guitar major), and at Berklee he often studied under Gary Burton (1970-1972). Rotella left Berklee to tour with a lounge band, moved to Los Angeles and, with Tommy Tedesco's guidance, he became a studio musician. However after a few years he missed playing live music and in 1984 Rotella moved to New York where he continued working in the studios but also had the chance to appear in clubs. In 1987 he recorded his first solo album for DMP. The three albums that Rotella cut for DMP (1987-1990) all sold well in the commercial market. Eventually the guitarist became so involved in the jingle business that he moved back to L.A. A 1996 Christmas album for Telarc led to Thom Rotella being signed to the label and recording 1997's Can't Stop. A five-year period of silence marked the time between albums, but in 2002 Rotella returned with the light and airy A Day in the Life. ~ Scott Yanow
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