Not many vocalists have performed with one of the most popular big bands of all time – The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
From 2001 to 2009, Rob was the featured vocalist for this renowned big band under the direction of the legendary Buddy Morrow. Morrow, who performed with bandleader Tommy Dorsey, declared that “Zappulla’s talent, his rich baritone voice, his own style and interpretation of the Great American Songbook, and his prior experiences as a professional, dynamic entertainer, was a perfect match for this great Orchestra.” The affiliation has taken this great singer on tour with the Orchestra around the globe and all the way to the 2005 President’s Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C.
He has headlined performances at the famous Birdland Jazz Club to performing at Lincoln Center in New York City, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos to the casinos of Las Vegas, cruises throughout the Caribbean and Europe, and has been honored to often perform as guest vocalist with the United States Military Academy’s West Point Jazz Knights Big Band and Concert Band.
Rob’s CD “Something Makes Me Want To Dance With You” was released in 2000. The arrangements were written, and his big band was conducted by Lew Anderson. The songs are by 20th century greats such as Rogers & Hart, Hammerstein, Mercer, and Porter.
Released in 2009, Rob’s CD “You Ought To Be Havin’ Fun!” is an exciting concept combining 1960s and 70s pop hits with Rob’s big band conducted by Jeff Steinberg with musical arrangements by Jeff Steinberg, Don Sebesky, Bryan Kidd, Jason Goldman and Lew Anderson.
When you listen to Rob’s recordings, you’ll hear the passion and creativity that went into these masterful projects.
Rob grew up in Connecticut. As a young boy, he heard Harry James’ recordings and the die was cast. Rob studied with trumpeter Ronald Kutik at the prestigious Hartt School of Music, and later studied with the great lead players Bob McCoy and Jon Faddis.
After his formal education, Rob found work as a trumpeter with show bands and artists such as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Box Tops, Lesley Gore, Deana Martin, Bobby Rydell and many others. He also toured with several groups opening for Tower of Power, The Temptations, Patti Austin, The Count Basie Orchestra, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Drifters, Tiny Tim, Bobby Vinton, The Shirelles, and Little Anthony and the Imperials, to name a few.
His professionalism and talent took him from a jazz and classical trumpeter, theater musician and conductor to performing as a trumpet soloist in several big bands including The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and The Nelson Riddle Orchestra. As a trumpeter, he can be heard on countless recordings with a variety of musical artists.
In 2004, Rob was chosen to be an extra in the Paramount remake movie “The Stepford Wives” directed by Frank Oz, starring Nicole Kidman, Christopher Walken, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Faith Hill, John Lovitz, and many other all-stars. This was an uncredited part as a Stepford husband.