MP3 Vio-fonik - Re-inventing the Trio
String trio with tabla lead by jazz violinist Harry Scorzo, performing original jazz compositions in the styles of the masters.
13 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Bebop, JAZZ: Latin Jazz
Formed in 1994 by commercial violinist Harry Scorzo, Vio-fonik is a string trio consisting of two violins and cello, with percussion, and features Scorzos writing and improvising. Harry is joined by Robin Cecil (violin) and Alan Mautner (cello), both fine classical instrumentalists and respected educators. The percussion chair is filled by Chris Garcia. Vio-foniks repertoire borrows from the harmonic and contrapuntal textures of the mid and late 20th century, and also from mainstream jazz, afro-cuban music, and popular music of the later 20th century. According to Scorzo, "Vio-fonik sounds like Stravinsky with a jazz violinist playing on top. "We''re going the Italian trio sonata route (2 treble clef instruments and continuo), as apposed to the romantic string trio consisting of violin, viola, and cello. I find our setup to provide a great little unit for inventing over. it''s the perfect weight to improvise over with acoustic violin, and the small string choir affords me all the resources I need to realize the kind of counterpoint and harmony I love to listen to and to play over"
...about the songs
Since I was a little guy, I’ve always fantasized about having an awesome tree house. Throughout my life, that just hasn’t happened, and consequently, I’m a middle aged man with a tree house fetish. Rives Park is near my house and full of huge, tall trees. I go there during the day to run and daydream about tree houses.
I wrote this song in 1995. It originally had lyrics and was called “Maya”. At the time, I was very impressed with the poet Maya Angelou. Remember her speech at Clinton’s inauguration? Anyway, later that year I became involved in a Hindu community. After learning the Sanskrit meaning of the word “Maya” (the illusion we call life, which is the source of all our suffering!) I decided to use a different name for the song. I actually let my oldest son give this song its name. He’s titled a number of my compositions.
This song is dedicated to my dad. We’re Italian-Americans from the south side of Chicago. My father grew up there in an African American neighborhood. As a child, I heard a lot of Black music in our house. It’s because of my dad that I’m here today doing what I do, and not sitting in a symphony somewhere. This tune is also a salute to Count Basie, a fellow midwesterner (he’s from Kansas City). In my childhood home, we preferred Basie to Duke Ellington.
Steve is my younger son. When he was in kindergarten, it would take him 45 minutes to get from the school door to the end of the block. He would take a few steps forward, stop and talk to imaginary friends, then take a few steps backward and repeat the process over and over until the little play in his mind was over. He always had a handful of little brightly colored toys, and couldn’t get enough of those starburst candies. When I think back to his dreamy little walk down that block, I think about our human need for altered states of consciousness, and our need to connect with something bigger. I feel like my career is almost as wonderfully pointless as his trip from the school door to my car. I’m a grown up version of him.
I’m still not sure what kind of animal it’s made out of. But Spam is one of those items that has a place in the front dresser drawer of my brain. I grew up across the street from a big playground and had lots of friends. As you can imagine, summer vacation was bliss. And I can remember mom grilling slices of Spam on the old Coleman gas stove when we went camping at Lake Cachuma. I’ll never forget the smell of that gas stove with the Spam cooking and the neighbors campfires still smoldering in the early morning air. Spam definitely reminds me of my childhood summers.
Brakes Are Bad
This is a song dedicated to all the crappy cars I’ve owned in my life. Musicians tend to not have money, and I think this story is fairly typical for someone earning their living playing an instrument...especially a young someone. Have you ever had to cover hundreds of miles on a busy holiday weekend with 3 or 4 job destinations, and have you ever had to resort to things like: using the parking brake to stop the car because your brakes weren’t working: or always needing to find a hill to park on so you could pop the clutch while you rolled down: or have you ever had to use a screw driver to short out the terminals on your starter to get the engine to turn over? That list could go on and on. Musicians know what I’m talking about. This song is supposed to make you feel like you’re in nasty traffic with bad brakes.
Based on Johan Pachelbel’s Canon in D, this song brings together the two worlds I’ve earned my living in for the past several decades: Latin music and weddings. It’s actually Pachelbel’s Canon done as a Cuban Danzone.
Can’t Drive Blues
I have a brilliant son living in England. He’s in his late 20’s and still doesn’t drive. I tried to teach him before he left the U.S., and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Luckily, over there he does quite well without the skill because of public transportation and metropolitan density. He can walk to most places he wants to go to. This is dedicated to him and all the other doomed souls that can’t drive in the sprawl of Southern California.
This number was written in the spirit of the Sonny Rollins classic “St. Thomas”. I was in St. Thomas for the first time in October of 1994. My wife and I got off our cruise ship and spent a few hours on the main street of the island, shopping in the warm rain. Later, we were able to drive up to one of the highest points on the island. The view from there was indescribably beautiful. That was a magical day.
Didi and I wrote this song together in 1978 when my brother-in-law Ray died. He was only 32 and didn’t even know he had heart trouble. They were treating his cardiac symptoms incorrectly as Paraquat poisoning. (Remember Paraquat, the chemical the U.S. government was spraying on Mexican Marijuana fields in the mid 70’s?). His death was my first life trauma of that kind. We all still remember him quite vividly, and it’s been almost 30 years.
Angelo is my oldest son. He has an I.Q. close to 200. He didn’t get it from me. As a baby, he asked a million questions. If you said that you didn’t know the answer, he would ask what the answer would be if you did know. He did this with his teachers too, and my wife and I spent many afternoons at parent/teacher conferences trying to untangle things. This song refers to him, to his quest for perfection, and to his quest for knowledge and truth, and to all those same noble qualities in us all.
Wolfgang Se Fue
This is actually the first movement of Mozart’s “Eine Kline Nachmusik” done as a mambo. Again, this song brings together the two worlds I’ve earned my living in for the past several decades: Latin music and weddings.
Harry Scorzo 9-21-06