United – Jay T. Vonada
Jay Vonada – Trombone
Kirk Reese – Keyboard
Bob Hart – Bass
Kevin Lowe – Drums
Playing everywhere from large festivals to brew houses, Jay T. Vonada is starting to make a name for himself as Central Pennsylvania’s “hard working trombonist”… Here he presents his home-spun quartet in a groove-laden trombone jazz quartet recording!
United is the title of this album and it truly is the “uniting” of four great jazz musicians: Jay Vonada on trombone, Kirk Reese on piano, Bob Hart on bass and Kevin Lowe on drums.
Each of these musicians brings his own expression to each piece and especially through their solos. The interplay between Vonada and Reese is smokin’ hot along with Hart’s counterpoint and Lowe’s solid time. Separately each of these gentlemen are great musicians in their own right but put them together and something special happens. This album showcases Vonada’s composing skills as all but two of the tunes are originals written by him. Of the two standards, the ballad “Darn that Dream” showcases Vonada’s range and depth of feeling on the trombone. He takes you from quiet beauty to high octave soaring.
All the musicians get a chance to highlight their skills on the album. The rhythm section and especially Lowe is featured on the sizzling title track “United”. It also features swing in the tunes “Inspired” and “Summer Daze”. Listen for the intro on Summer Daze as it feels like a sultry summer evening. “That’s What I Said” has a funky feel and each of the band members has a turn at showing their skills. “Midnight Waltz” is a smooth flowing tune. And “Serenity” gives Hart on bass a chance to strut his stuff. “Summertime” lives up to its name and Reese puts his own mark on it. Last, but not least, is “Sisaroo”, a hot Latin number that Jay wrote in honor of his sister. As I said before, this album is truly a uniting of four great jazz musicians.
Keyboardist Kirk Reese has been an active part of the jazz scene in Pennsylvania for close to thirty years. He has performed with numerous notable jazz artists including Phil Woods, Lou Marini, Marvin Stamm and Terell Stafford. On the central Pennsylvania jazz scene, he has been asked to open for Bela Fleck and Flecktones, B.B. King and others. An active recording artist, he has appeared on countless recordings including one in particular with brother/flutist Tom Reese; “The Reese Project: Blue Etude”, which received a Grammy nomination in 2002. In 1997 the Reese brothers were nationally recognized by The Leonard Bernstein Foundation for “innovations in arts education”.
Bassist Bob Hart moved to State College from Brooklyn in 2013. He is active in a variety of musical genres, from jazz and rock to orchestral music. He can be heard playing with many Central Pennsylvania groups, as well as with Sony recording artist Kat Edmonson, around the country.
Kevin Lowe is a drummer and composer, originally from Ithaca NY. He appears regularly around central Pennsylvania and on record with a wide variety of musicians, and has had compositions commissioned by Cornell University and Bucknell University. He earned a PhD in history from Penn State in 2013.
If there’s one thing the world definitely needs more of, it’s trombone-led jazz albums. Pennsylvania-based trombonist and composer Jay T. Vonada steps up to make his contribution on this very fine album of standards and originals, on which he is accompanied by the trio of pianist Kirk Reese, bassist Bob Hart and drummer Kevin Lowe. Vonado has a sweet, burnished tone and a deep love of melody, both of which are in ample evidence here — as is his love of bossa nova rhythms. And I confess that I’m completely charmed by the fact that the liner notes (in which he is, of course, profusely praised) were written by his wife. Strongly recommended.
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