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Biography

       New York guitarist James Zito’s masterful touch and soulful melodies inspired Artslife Magazine to dub him “The Natural” Born in Orlando, Florida, he is admired both for his authentic approach inspired by Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian and George Benson. 

       At 27 years old, Zito has performed at many of the city’s top venues including, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Birdland theatre, the Django, Chelsea Factory, The Blue Note and many others. 

Zito recently graduated from The Juilliard School as a part of their “Artist Diploma” Program where he focused on touring around NYC and overseas during his 2 year residency.

 

       Some of Zito’s notable achievements include First Place in the Wilson Center International Guitar Competition and Special Prize at the Jarek Smietana International Guitar Competition in Krakow, Poland. He was awarded the guitar chair for the Dr. Phillips Jazz Orchestra directed by esteemed bassist and educator Rodney Whitaker at the age of 19 years old. Other collaborations include performances with Wycliffe Gordon, Michael Dease, Jane Monheit, Dick Oatts, Chad Lefkowitz Brown, Adam Nussbaum, Terell Stafford, Kenny Washington, among many others. In 2019 he was named a “Geri Allen Fellow” of the Gathering Orchestra, an All-Star ensemble with residency in Detroit. 

 

       In 2020, Zito became an Endorsing Artist for Benedetto Guitars, a leading manufacturer of custom handmade guitars.

James Zito is a dedicated music educator and has taught Jazz and Guitar in the U.S. and abroad at The Dr. Phillips Jazz Intensive, Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, The Orlando Jazz Workshop, South Hampton Summer Jazz camp, Brevard Jazz Workshop, Michigan State University, and many more.  He is currently working on his first project as a leader.  

"He can swing, he's very soulful... He has a promising future" - Rodney Whitaker
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