Slide Show
Toty Viola Toty Viola Toty Viola Toty Viola Toty Viola Toty Viola Toty Viola Toty Viola Toty Viola Toty Viola

In Palermo Italy, was born the eldest of a family of four children. Son of Giuseppe (Pino) and Benedetta Viola - working class people intent on bringing joy back into life after the devastating toll WWII had taken on their once so vivacious city. Music was the vehicle Toty's father used to drive joy and celebration back into his family and surrounding community. Neighborhood musicians could always be counted on to make a simple gathering over a plate of linguine with clam sauce into a festival of music and culinary genius.

At the young age of 12, Toty's father believed he was ready to sit in with the older musicians, and he encouraged his son to keep up with them during the jam sessions. Together with his father on the accordion and brother on drums, the Viola family began to entertain small crowds around the city in order to provide for the family.

Toty's heart leapt, however, when he began listening to American jazz. He coveted every note from the jazz masters like Wes Montgomery, George Benson and Joe Pass. At times, though, he was forbidden to listen to his favorite artists. It was soon discovered by his mother that the money she gave him to buy a kilo of bread or pasta would be used instead to buy a 45 recording of one of his favorite jazz artists. Toty dreamt of coming to America and visiting the places where these jazz greats had left their footprints.

Toty soon became recognized as a serious talent, and was invited to perform regularly at exclusive resorts and venues throughout Sicily. Since many American music artists stayed at these resorts while on tour, Toty had an opportunity to meet and perform for legendary artists as Natalie Cole, George Benson, The Manhattan Transfer, and Joe Pass - all of whom personally acknowledged their appreciation for his talent. Two guitar greats, George Benson and Joe Pass, however went a step further in recognizing him. Each presented Toty with a signature guitar. Toty is still humbled when he thinks of the grand gesture of recognition he received by such accomplished performing icons. Toty continues to stay in contact with George Benson - his admiration for one of the great institutions in the history of Jazz has never wavered.

Since his permanent move from Sicily to the United States in 1995, Toty has accomplished more than most native-born musicians have in their lifetime. He's been invited to perform alongside acclaimed artists David Brubeck, Diana Shurr, and McCoy Tyner for 3 consecutive years at the Detroit Montreaux Jazz Festival - with his band for the grand opening of New York New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, MGM and Motor City casinos in Detroit as well as other venues in Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Toty is currently splitting his time performing on the East and West coasts, composing, teaching and working on studio projects.

Toty is best known, however, for his authentic international flavor. Whether he performs a Latin Salsa, Italian Ballad, or a Jazz solo, his signature spice is the secret ingredient that amalgamates every note he plays.