Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL



  • Johnny played lead trumpet with The Lawrence Welk orchestra for most of the 70s and 80s. I always admired Welk's disciplined musicians, but felt he overlooked the brass section to often when it came to solos, and the trumpet section in particular. But now and then Welk would give a solo to Johnny Zell, a trumpet player I truly admired. Here are a couple of videos of him, first soloing on the Frank Sinatra hit, This Love Of Mine and playing some Dixie with Peanuts Hucko on Clarinet, and Bob Havens on Trombone on Muskrat Ramble. There are many other good videos of Zell on YouTube.



  • To the best of my recollection, they were all excellent musicians. Trumpeters Dick Cathcart, Johnny Zell, Warren Leuning, et al. I enjoyed the Dixieland segments - Pete Fountaine, Big Tiny Little, Jo Ann Castle.

    I've known some and I used to work with the guitar player's son. He (the father) didn't like Welk very much and it was mutual. But he said it was a good way to keep the wolf away from the door. But a lot of their music? An American precurser of Andre Rieu.

    We always watched the show. Nana (Swiss grandmother) loved it. I usually got thrown out of the living room for running my mouth off, LOL,



  • @Kehaulani said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    We always watched the show. Nana (Swiss grandmother) loved it. I usually got thrown out of the living room for running my mouth off, LOL,

    So did you get your mouth washed out with soap as well ?... would have added to the ambiance of the Welk bubbles in the background and put you in better favor with Nana!



  • She would have if she could have. She was a little, shall we say, strict. Card carrying Anabaptist.

    I had just bought a record by Jackie Cane and Roy Kral and hadn't even heard it, yet. There was a line in the lyrics that said, "don't give a damn" and she popped up and gave me a tongue lashing saying, "I didn't think you were that kind of boy". Sheesh.



  • The Welk show is on PBS every Saturday night in my area. The shows are from varied years but always fun to watch. Hell it is the only big band stuff on tv in my neck of the woods. A little corny at times, but always lots of good music. And it seems Lawrence had an eye for beauty because most of the gals are drop dead gorgeous...and talented.



  • I was never a fan of Welk but he wrote an autobiography that I enjoyed very much. You might, as well. Interesting man.



  • @Kehaulani said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    I was never a fan of Welk but he wrote an autobiography that I enjoyed very much. You might, as well. Interesting man.

    Which addition? A One or a Two or a Three?



  • @Dr-GO said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    Which addition? A One or a Two or a Three?

    I don't know, but it was written during World War Aye, Aye.



  • I do. But not because of his playing with the Welk Orch. For me, the LWO was and remains way too square and restricted. I suspected the musicians were far better than their output with LWO, where, seemed to me, they were never given the opportunity to cut loose. My thoughts were confirmed one day when I heard a radio recording of a live performance of a big band. I cannot recall the time (ca 1970), location, event, pieces, in fact virtually nothing. But I do recall the radio host stating many members of the band were performing with permission from the LWO, and a few names were highlighted: Zell was one. Zell played a solo and lead for one piece. All I remember is what a huge difference from his LWO work; this time he could cut loose, and I was amazed by how fantastic he played. Maybe he used a different horn, but this time his music simply sprang to life. For that performance, he had everything except the ultra high range popular today. I suspect the LWO contract prevented him from performing elsewhere, and more the pity if true. Sadly, no recordings were made of this performance. So good of you to keep his memory alive.


    the LWO. skip to 11:15. very good musicians, but too tight. the music is missing soul.

    Someone said LW had some very pretty ladies on his shows. I second this notion; two young ladies stick in mind. Real beauty is timeless.


    skip to 6:40. Anacani was a real doll. and at 8:40 Joe had a marvellous tenor voice.



  • @grune ANACANI

    Oh, yes, the little Mexican beauty. I love watching her.

    Re: Johnny Zell:

    After Welk he became a born again Christian and played in a lot of gospel concerts. Today he is the pastor of The Church Of New Beginnings. He is in his early seventies.



  • . . if you like that evangelical look. 😄



  • @Kehaulani said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    . . if you like that evangelical look. 😄

    I think she looks more angelic than evangelic...in a kind of sexy way.



  • Different strokes . . . ☺



  • @Kehaulani said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    I was never a fan of Welk but he wrote an autobiography that I enjoyed very much. You might, as well. Interesting man.

    Who was the autobiography about?
    Bwahahahaahaaha



  • @GeorgeB said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    I think she looks more angelic than evangelic...in a kind of sexy way.

    Like Charlies angels? (The originals of course)



  • idle curiosity: anybody know which brand of horn Zell used at the time?

    @Dr-GO said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    @GeorgeB said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    I think she looks more angelic than evangelic...in a kind of sexy way.

    Like Charlies angels? (The originals of course)

    well, the media darling was Fawcett, but I think Jaclyn Smith was the much more gorgeous. I rate Anacani higher, for her combination of musical talent and beauty. obviously, personal preferences.



  • @grune said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    idle curiosity: anybody know which brand of horn Zell used at the

    I had the same curiosity and after a little research I discovered he played A French Besson Meha. He sure made that horn sound rich and sweet.

    www.welkshow.com/johnny-zell.html

    By the way, this link about Welk's performers is quite interesting. I didn't realize that both Pete Fountain and Al Hirt got their start playing for Welk.



  • @GeorgeB said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    Besson Meha

    A Besson is not unexpected. French horns were very popular among the commercial players in his day. Zell did produce a velvety tone on that horn.

    I recall Hirt liked the LeBlanc brand, and he started with Tommy Dorsey. I can't recall Hirt performed with Welk.

    I recall Fountain performing with Welk.



  • @grune

    Yes, I did my playing between 1953 and 1965 and in the 50s the Selmer Paris horn was a big favorite of the pro players like Louis Armstrong, Harry James and Ray Anthony to name a few. I played a Constellation 28B and got to play a Selmer Paris as a loan when I was having some work done on the Conn. I really liked the Selmer and wished I could afford to buy one, but one horn was all I could afford in those days. Now I own two Selmers...☺

    I recall seeing at least one Welk episode where Pete Fountain was playing but I never saw one with Hirt.



  • @GeorgeB said in Anyone remember JOHNNY ZELL:

    @grune

    Yes, I did my playing between 1953 and 1965 and in the 50s the Selmer Paris horn was a big favorite of the pro players like Louis Armstrong, Harry James and Ray Anthony . .

    Ah yes, Swingin' at the Tower.

    I remember a contemporaneous article in downbeat by Ira Gitler where he referred to a special being as a "rayanthony" (one word), to be used synonymously with "copycat". Ouch.


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