Jay Vonada recalls his mother wanting him to start taking piano lessons. It wasn’t Vonada’s favorite thing to do, but his mother insisted that he practice the piano for 15 minutes a day; he’s glad she did.
“It gave me a nice foundation for what was to come,” the musician said. “About the sixth grade, I started on the trombone that my dad used and was in the attic. It was available to use so I started taking lessons.”
The dedication to his lessons paid off, and one of his bands, Organ Trio East (Vonada, Steve Adams on organ and Jim Schade on drums), recently released a CD, “Chemistry.”
The tunes on “Chemistry” are all original compositions by Vonada and Adams. The CD was recorded at Adams’ home in Danville on Jan. 8 and Feb. 24. Over past several years, the trio had been playing these tunes at gigs and then decided they needed to document what they had been doing.
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“As a musician, you are only as good as the people you play with, and these gentlemen are top-notch musicians who I am honored to be making music with,” Vonada said. “They have played with cats such as Dave Liebman and Larry McKenna. Their artistry on this recording is amazing, and I thank them for their hard work and creativity.”
In addition to Organ Trio East, Vonada plays in Organ Trio West, and a quartet combination of trombone, guitar, bass and drums. He also is involved in duos of trombone and guitar or trombone and keyboard called Swing-Nova.
“Personally, I put pressure on myself when I record, which can be good and bad,” he said. “This is my fourth record, so I think I’ve gotten better and I think this is the best I’ve sounded at this point in my career.”
“This region needs to experience more jazz, and I want to help out and continue to grow our audience and bring this music to the State College region and beyond,” he said. “The audience member is the most important part of what we do; without them, we are just practicing in our house. The arts need to play a role in our lives and in public schools, and there needs to be an appreciation so that we have an audience in the future.”