In May, Jay Vonada’s Organ Trio East released its new CD “Chemistry.” This weekend, the Aaronsburg musician will head back to the studio to record with his other group, the Jay Vonada Quartet.
The quartet’s performance Nov. 21 at the Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center in Millheim will be a preview of its Nov. 22 recording session at Data Music Services in Altoona..
The quartet — Vonada on trombone, Mac Himes on guitar, Bob Hart on bass and Kevin Lowe on drums — has been a work in progress for Vonada, and he goes into the studio with the same attitude and optimism that he does with any project he takes on.
“It takes time to set up and then run through many sound checks with members of the band,” he said. “Once that process is complete, the recording starts and hopefully at the end of the day you have something that you are satisfied with and represents what you were aiming for.”
Vonada said he puts pressure on himself when he records, which can be good and bad, but “I think this is the best I’ve sounded at this point in my career.”
His bands have performed at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and the Bellefonte Arts and Crafts Fair, but most of Vonada’s performances are set in nursing homes and assisted-living communities throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland,
He said he enjoys playing songs from the Great American Songbook, which includes popular songs from Broadway and Hollywood from the 20th century, and residents of senior-living facilities appreciate and understand the lyrics, often singing along while he is playing. One of Vonada’s goals is to keep that music alive, but he also wants to showcase his own work in the same fashion.
“I’m glad I can keep this music moving forward to the next generation,” he said. “My original compositions most definitely try to have that same kind of spirit when writing a new song.”
Vonada’s quartet’s recording will be his fifth CD, which should be released in the summer. He said recording is a documentation of what the band has been playing for a period of time in most cases.
“Sometimes I’ve recorded tunes and we’ve seen them for the first time, or haven’t played them much, and that can be fun, too,” he said. “But working on the material for some gigs and then recording is for me the best way to go. ... I’ll be turning 40 next year, so I feel like I’m just starting to reach my potential as a musician and specifically a jazz musician.”
As with the quartet and any of his future endeavors, Vonada strives to keep getting better and better every single day.
“My goal is to be able to continue to play this music,” he said. “I’ve had the privilege of playing with some amazing musicians and I hope I am worthy enough to keep doing that.”