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Rozz Zamorano You will be Missed

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By Guy Schwartz 
Photos by Dennis Benton
Rozz Zamorano died of natural causes at the age of 44 on February 21st.
Not much more to that story. There was no foul play, no needle in his arm, and no flaming high-speed car wreck. He just wasn’t that kind of guy. He died in his sleep - peacefully, just as he lived his life.
Rozzano Zamorano was a bass player, and a founding member of Houston’s Fondue Monks, a popular Texas funk band for more than 20 years. No word as to whether the band will go on without him. No idea whether they even could.
One might expect a bigger ending to the Rozz story. After all, Rozz was a big man. Onstage and in the studio, Rozz was a musical giant. His bass playing was the stuff of legend. He was a musician who could command that stage, even while sharing it with argueably the hardest working frontman in the Houston music scene.
Rozz’ friends and fans have said a lot of nice things about Rozz. Not a lot of descriptive words about his music or bass playing, but an outpouring of love for a man full of humor, humility, and the ability to make others feel good with the simplest of smiles, greetings, gratitude, and small inside jokes. He was often found hanging with the other musicians, at his gigs and theirs, until the wee hours.
But, make no mistake, he was a monster of a world-class virtuoso bassist.
Born in Corpus Christi, Rozz’ folks soon moved to Houston, where he was a student at Memorial High School. Playing the bass his father gave him at an early age, Rozz hung out at the music store in the local mall until they gave him a job, and then followed his drumming brother, Ronnie, into the clubs and bars until he was an integral part of our music scene.
When Rozz wasn’t busy being a musician, he was a well respected independent insurance investigator. His colleagues say he excelled at that, too.
Forming the Fondue Monks in 1991, Rozz and Ronnie laid down a heavy, funky rhythm, for bandmates Steve Olson (guitar) and Denver Courtney (vocals) to ride on top of, and the combination set Houston music fans to dancing and singing along. They soon filled the venues they appeared at. Olson’s clean guitar sounds, and Courtney’s sexy baritone were the perfect compliment, but, even with Courtney’s high enegy stage presence, nobody could miss that awesome bass player.
As a live band, the Monks were fresh, exciting and musical. When they took to the studio to begin their recording career, Rozz saw even more opportunity for musical exploration.
Rozz’ natural funk, and quickly developing skills on bass set him above the fray - in Houston and even in his own band. He was just that good. As he explored new sounds and old, Rozz became enamored with the musical fusion and jazz sensibilities expressed by his heroes, like Jaco Pastorious, Miles Davis, and even Eddie Van Halen. He soon began a lifelong series of jazz fusion units to express that side of his art.
An early pioneer of the do-it-yourself indie-artist, Rozz began his own label, Zam Records, to release a series of highly acclaimed jazz fusion albums, showcasing hot chops and smooth transitions which didn’t just blow-and-go, but served the melodies he had chosen to support.
Studio owner, producer and bassist Roger Tausz said,”Whether it was one of his sessions, or whether he was there as a hired gun, Rozz always served the song. And, that is not to mention his sense of humor! Whenever I’d answer the phone to hear someone complaining that their pizza had not been delivered yet - I knew Rozz was on the line.”
While some of the most even-tempered musicians can lose it on the road, Rozz was always mellow and upbeat.
Moses Guest guitarist, Graham Guest, says, “Once upon a time, back in the late nineties… Rozz played with us: on American Trailer, and he took a tour with us to Colorado. He was always happy, no matter what the situation. Rozz Zamorano was a brother. We are broken by his departure. But we will come together again soon to play in his honor.”
Always willing to try something new, Rozz was willing to jump into new projects whenever it seemed right. Yoko Mono, Big Sir Junior, and The Rozz Zamorano Group… the list is large.
Rozzano Zamorano is already missed. His musicianship, attitude and the encouragement he gave to other musicians were assets to the whole community. Take some time to listen to his recordings or live videos. You’ll hear what I mean. It’s all in there.
Partial Discography
1995 So It Seems
2001 Baila Toca
2002 Fondue Monks - Live
2001 Eudemonia
2006 A Musical Illustration of the Human Condition
2012 The Rozzano Zamorano Group
Ruff Rozz video I’ve thrown together - ROZZ ZAMORANO - Gathered Clips from SOUTH BY DUE EAST
Services for Rozz Zamorano will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, March 1st at:
BridgePoint Bible Church (at I-10 and Eldridge)
13277 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77079
(832) 448-1330A reception will follow at the same location. After the reception, friends and family will be gathering at Rozz’s home away from home…Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar located at 1031 E. 24th, Houston, TX 77009.

Those wishing to contact Rozz’s family can do so by emailing
ronniezamorano@yahoo.com or by postal mail to the following address:
3835 Wood Stone Walk Dr.
Houston, TX 77084-3853

A benefit concert will be held on March 15th at Warehouse Live. More details about the benefit will be provided as soon as available. The family would like to thank you all for your kind words of support and encouragement throughout this difficult time.

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