VyZ filmmaking musicians - Charlie
Tokarz, Rich Damone, John Pritchard
ImproVyZed Music for Movies
"VyZ" is all about improvised, spontaneous music...music performed freely in the moment...no rehearsing... no writing songs... just the pure, uninhibited sound created on the spot... not to mention, the sheer joy of playing with an amazing group of talented artists.
As a multimedia band, VyZ began playing together in the spring of 2003. The band has always had a cinematic quality to its sound and the "music for movies" slogan quickly became a way to classify the VyZ style. While initially producing live imagery with the amazing G-force visualization software, the group soon began improvising with movies from the Prelinger Film Archive, NASA, and the Library of Congress. On their new Freedom DVD (2015), the visuals are a mix of original video, motion graphics, and computer programming.
NEW ALBUM/DVD: FREEDOM
Freedom by VyZ - learn more >>
VyZ has produced 3 other "Music for Movies" DVDs:
Read below for more information about the band, our music, our movies and our unique filmmaking style.
New VyZ CD
Released March 23, 2007
"Tornado" is a 43 minute improvization of live music recorded without any overdubs by "VyZ-music for movies". The music is an innovative cross between jazz, rock and classical genres that feature Rich Damone on bass, Charlie Tokarz on sax and flutes, and John Pritchard on drums and keyboards.
"VyZ" is all about improvised, spontaneous music...music performed freely in the moment...no rehearsing... no writing songs... just the pure, uninhibited sound created on the spot... not to mention, the sheer joy of playing with an amazing group of talented artists at the top of their game.
From the musicians:
Having an open mind to new ideas and experiences is always the playful method we prefer. It is in the optimistic light of free expression that we celebrate our improvisational music & film. We dedicate this improvisational "tornado" music to all creative artists and great improvisers past, present and future... especially Sam Rivers.
"Lightning in A Bottle"
Review By Adam Holzman (keyboards for Miles Davis, Grover Washington)
Jane Getter (guitarist for Saturday Night Live band)
In the end, what is music, really, other than an artistic arrangement of sounds?
There are many ways to produce 43 minutes of music: Composition is the most dependable. Improv-based forms are sometimes more interesting than compositions, sometimes definitely not. And, the most risky, totally improvised music in the moment, which can be exciting if it's done right and a disastrous bore if not.
I'm pleased to say that the CD "Tornado," a recording of pure improvisation, falls into the 'successful' category. Creating music out of thin air in a group format is not easy, but if the players know each other well, really listen to each other, are in synch with other, have a similar listening history and are a little lucky, the results can be really inspiring, ultimately sounding as if it was scored out. This record reaches that point a number of times.
"Tornado" is one 43 minute continous improvisation, divided into 11 tracks. The band is a trio format, with each musician playing multiple roles in the proceedings. "Tornado" draws from a wide pallette of sounds and styles. I'm hearing electronica mixed with early prog, semi-free jazz and pastoral soundscapes. At some points I'm reminded of "Bitches Brew."
It's sort of a chameleon in a way. When listening from the other room sometimes I'd forget what I had on and I'd think "is this Crimson?.... is this 'Song X' with Ornette and Pat Metheny?.... is this a Yes interlude....?," etc... At different points "Tornado" is all of those things.
It's clear these guys have been playing together for a long time and have a real rapport. This line-up has produced several projects before ("Music For Movies") but "Tornado" should really put them on the map as an ensemble. Thier improvisational instincts have sharpened and the ideas are taken further.
Charlie Tokarz is great on sax, flute and wind instruments. His performance morphs from intense wailing to some really nice lyrical moments, and he is able to fit in some cool riffs in the proggier sections. Rich Damone, besides being a very powerful bass player, fills in with some really wild sound effects, but I especially like his fuzz-bass freak outs.
John Pritchard is really the driving force behind the whole she-bang, playing keyboards, electronic noises and, mostly, drums. His drumming is influenced by Bill Bruford and Jack DeJohnette, the result being that sometimes he sounds like a twisted Ed Blackwell. I did find myself wishing occasionally for a more natural drum sound; I think a lot of the drumming on this record is on an electronic drum kit.
"Tornado" is one of those great moments that can happen in this format (small group improv). As a player I understand how rare it is when everything really falls into place; the players, the ideas, the recorded sound, the moment. John, Charlie and Rich should be happy that this jam was captured on 'tape,' like lightning in a bottle.
This is a brilliant new CD!
Review by Asaf Sirkis, drummer/composer:
the Inner Noise, Tim Garland, Gilad Atzmon, Larry Coryell
Rich colourful textures and a full sound from the capable hands
of Damone, Tokarz and Prichard. With a touch of early Weather Report,
Tornado is a unique and haunting musical journey into the
unexplainable, immeasurable, and inexpressible.
What Isn't Known About Tornadoes
In the presence of a tornado there are very high electromagnetic fields, visible light, and ball lightning. Tornadoes can cause physical objects to fuse into each other - where matter actually becomes able to permeate other matter. There are cases where two burnt and charred wooden boards were fused together by a tornado, even though they would crumble at the slightest touch. There were pebbles that had gone through glass without breaking the glass; pieces of straw that went through a window and got stuck in the window without breaking it. Tornadoes show that matter is able to disappear or become permeable to other matter in the presence of a strong enough electromagnetic field.
Meteorologists are not sure how tornadoes form but they do know that they are often associated with severe electrical storms. The key to understanding tornadoes is that they are the result of rapidly rotating electric charge. Just as electrons are the current carriers in the copper wires we use for power transmission, so they are in the tornado. The BIG difference is that the electrons are moving at many meters per second in the tornado while they take several hours to move one meter in the copper wire! The result is that enormously powerful electromagnetic forces are in control of the tornado. This effect has been called a "charged sheath vortex." www.holoscience.com
VyZ Live Sessions 2003-2005
Released August 18, 2006
This CD features 60 minutes of highly imaginative VyZ music selected from over 30 sessions that were recorded between 2003 and 2005. With 13 tracks, there is a wide spectrum of musical styles that range from jazz to classical to electro funk, avant garde and be-pop.
The raw energy and tight syncronization of the band breaks free of the musical status quo and takes the listener into new sonic worlds of a cinematic nature. Charlie Tokarz plays sax and flute; Rich Damone plays bass; and John Pritchard plays drums and keyboards. Check out mp3 samples of the whole album below and make a purchase to hear it all.
UNUM (E Pluribus Unum) DVD
The first VyZ movie, "E PLURIBUS UNUM - Out of Many, One," was released November 22, 2003 and featured the music from the first "VyZ" recording that included special guest, Adam Holzman on keyboards. "E PLURIBUS UNUM champions the positive spirit of JFK. It is made of 11 short "music for movies" films (see sample) that are loosely constructed around the theme of subliminal advertising in film and television prior to the 1960's. The DVD features the groundbreaking television broadcast of the 1961 Nixon/JFK debates that changed the course of political history. As anyone knows, there is a fine line between salesmanship and outright deception. By 1965 television and commercial advertisements became the primary communication (and manipulation) tool for world news, wars, business and politics.
NOVUS DVD and SOUNDTRACK
In the winter of 2003, the band produced the soundtrack for their second DVD "NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM - New Order of the Ages." Keyboard wizard, Adam Holzman, again added his sonic genius to the improvised music. By the spring of 2004, "NOVUS""was released commercially and sold via Amazon.com. This artistic, yet controversial film about the great scientist, Nikola Tesla, celebrates the fairytale format of storytelling and pays tribute to the medium of classic animation. The controversy comes in with the central (fairytale?) theme of Tesla-made flying saucer technology stolen by the Nazi's. The DVD is definitely one of a kind. You can learn more and preview the DVD by visiting the "NOVUS" web site at www.tesladvd.com.
STAR CYCLES DVD and SOUNDTRACK
The third film, released in February 2006, is called "STAR CYCLES - the timeless wisdom of Pythagoras." The band finished producing the soundtrack in November 2004 with Adam Holzman, yet again, providing his innovative keyboard work over the live, improvised "VyZ" music. "Star Cycles" introduces the ancient teachings of Pythagoras via a cosmic journey through the universe, milky way, and solar system to the inner reaches of the earth's ecosystem, human evolution and the eternal cycle of life and death.
Due to the geometric and mathematical/musical roots of Pythagoras, the band elected to construct the film around the dynamic imagery created by the G-force music visualization software. G-force was first used by Herbie Hancock during his live tour in 2002 and has gone on to be a visual music projection tool for live music events around the world. The "VyZ" band has customized G-force to emphasize it's geometric algorithms for the "Star Cycles" film and has licensed G-force from its publisher, Soundspectrum, Inc.
"Star Cycles" at Amazon.com
Visit website at starcyclesdvd.com!
Also available at
For further info or to request a press copy for review, please contact John at: email@example.com
NOTE FROM THE BAND
Thanks for checking us out.
We are the guys who put all this "music for movies" stuff together and thought you might like to get a sense of where we are coming from.
As astronomy has proven for centuries, the Universe operates with amazing precision, balance and harmony ...it has a life of its own ...everything spinning ...everything vibrating in motion. While analytical science and mathematics provide an excellent understanding of our physical existence, modern man remains largely ignorant to the reality of human intuition and imagination. We leave the subject of world religions to others to discuss. Our experience in playing music is an artistic endeavor we would rather not label as "religious," although it is definitely full of spirit. Having an open mind to new ideas and experiences is always the playful method we prefer: we do believe anything can happen!
In the 21st century, we are just beginning to increase our understanding of the more mystical, sixth sense. To any genius in history, especially the great artists and scientists, the reality of using their sixth sense is a pre-requisite for success. Intuiting the whole picture, "seeing" the answer, is a natural result of connecting the dots in anything we do. It is indeed a very "normal" human process and as an improvisational band, one we enjoy putting into practice.
It is only in recent years that the world is seriously discussing spirituality in science, or the advanced study of the invisible forces that are everywhere present in our Universe. Tesla called it "Radiant Energy." Quantum physics calls it "Cosmic Rays." While the many religions around the world refer to this Universal energy as "God," we simply call it FREEDOM... and just like the American motto "In God We Trust," it is IN FREEDOM WE TRUST. It is this very freedom that allows us to play our music with such spontaneous synchronicity. Freedom is the attitude that provides us with the opportunity to grow and thrive as a band!
It is in this optimistic light of free expression that we members of VyZ celebrate our improvisational music and unique filmmaking approach.
We hope you enjoy our creative efforts and look forward to your feedback at any time.
Charlie, Rich, & John
BAND BIOS BIO
Damone - bass
is a world-class bassist who innovates with electronic
technology. He has performed with jazz legends such as
Kirkland and the infamous Sun Ra drummer, Clifford
Jarvis. Rich was the co-founder of The American Music
Workshop and also a founding member of the highly acclaimed "Pure Sound Collective." He began his music career as a regular
performer in the legendary "jazz-loft" sessions at Studio
RivBea with Sam Rivers in New York City. Rich has also performed with
other great musicians such as Jimmy
Giuffre, Rob Zantay (Mr. Lyricon), Douglas Zantay,
Gary Goldfarb, Val Michalski, John
Hartigan and Kenny
Aronoff. Rich is R & D Director at the Pritchard
Digital Arts and is responsible for special
projects and managing the band.
Charlie Tokarz - sax, flute, clarinet, wind controller (EWI)
is a multi-talented horn player and one of the only musicians
who plays two saxes at the same time with multi-layered
electric effects. He has performed with guitar master, Larry Coryell, Ed Mann of the Frank Zappa band, and Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers. He has
also played with bands at the White House, Today Show, 92nd Street Y, MASS MOCA,
Merce Cunningham Studios, Club Helsinki, as well as, recorded
music for HBO. He has performed regularly with master
Weiner at Earth Dance and Kripalu
Yoga Center, and recorded and performed with
the group Shakti
Fusion in New York and the Caribbean. When he is not playing music, Charlie teaches at Hotchkiss
School in CT and the Steiner
School in Great Barrington, MA.
John Pritchard - drums, percussion, keyboards, and visuals
John is a multimedia pioneer and an award-winning digital artist and filmmaker (eternalways.com). He is also an electro-acoustic drummer who plays an acoustic set with midi drums and keyboards simultaneously. He has performed with "Blood, Sweat & Tears" saxophonist, Fred Lipsius; Native American flute master, Ken Littlehawk; and with legendary drummer, Jack DeJohnette at St. John The Divine Cathedral in NYC. In 2001, John launched Pritchard Digital Arts as a training and consulting company for specializing in digital filmmaking and interactive design for dvds and the web. He has traveled all over the world since living in Argentina from '69 to '72 and was awarded his first grant to film in China in 1983. He has produced commercial CD-ROMs for Microsoft, Canon, and McGraw-Hill, as well as, live concert webcasts, digital movies and award-winning flash web sites. In addition to the VyZ DVD movies, John is currently in post-production on an Australian documentary about the 40,000 year old Yolngu people (onehearttribe.com) and will be soon releasing an online training program for his REAWAKEN film (reawakenproject.com). In addition, John has collaborated with Adam Holzman on a website project celebrating the amazing animation of the Fleischer Brothers' 1941-43 classic Superman films: www.pritcharddigital.com/superman. John also runs the www.jazz-rock.com site with Adam whenever they find some free time (which is hardly ever, but it's a true labor of love for a small core audience of adventurous and progressive fusion fans).
special guest: Adam Holzman - keyboards
Adam Holzman is simply one of the most innovative musicians on the planet (adamholzman.com). "Keyboard" magazine named him one of the top 10 players in the world, "Down Beat" lauded his "killer groove" and the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post" have praised his live performances. Adam currently tours the world to sold out concerts with the Steven Wilson band. He has played and recorded with legendary artists such as Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and Grover Washington. In addition to his incredible keyboard work, he has produced several Miles Davis projects for Sony and Warner Bros. Adam has also produced several albums with his own band, Brave New World, and played with the amazing Wallace Roney quintet with Lenny White and Buster Williams. Adam is a faculty member of the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at the New School University in NYC. His phenomenal contribution to the VyZ music/soundtracks is nothing short of genius!
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