Home Profiles Trumpeter, Composer, Educator Ray Vega

Trumpeter, Composer, Educator Ray Vega

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A native of the South Bronx, RAY VEGA is a veteran of the bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Mario Bauza, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Hector Lavoe, Johnny Pacheco, Larry Harlow, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez and Louie Ramirez to name a few. Ray has performed and recorded with Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Mel Torme, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Steve Turre, Israel Lopez “Cachao,” Las Leyendas De La Fania, Pete Escovedo, The Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Paul Simon, John Santos and The Machete Ensemble, Jose Jose, Sheila E., Yomo Toro, Anna Saeki, Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Big Band, Diane Schuur, The Mike Stewart Big Band, Michel Camilo, Kirk Franklin, The Bob Belden Big Band, Dave Samuels, and The Caribbean Jazz Project, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Jeanie Bryson, Eddie Palmieri, James “Jabbo” Ware, and The Me, We and Them Orchestra, La Orquesta Sinfonica De Simon Bolivar, Sandro De Las Americas, The Mingus Big Band, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Bebo Valdez, and Celia Cruz, among numerous others. Ray currently works with the renowned Contemporary Classical composer Osvaldo Golijov, performing first and solo trumpet in the critically acclaimed work; “La Pasion Segun San Marco.
Ray has now established himself as one of the innovators of the International Jazz and Latin music scenes. A multi-talented trumpeter, percussionist, composer, and arranger, he presents Jazz from a refreshingly original and contemporary perspective. His two recordings on the Concord Picante label, his self-titled debut “Ray Vega” and “Boperation”, along with his 1st release on the Palmetto label “Pa’lante”, have been well received by critics, audiences, and musicians alike. Vega’s 2nd Palmetto CD, “Squeeze, Squeeze,” has also received critical acclaim, including Four Stars in Down Beat Magazine.
Vega’s latest CD, “East-West Trumpet Summit,” is a collaboration with Seattle trumpeter Thomas Marriott. The CD was released in the summer of 2010 on Origin Records and hit number 1 on the Jazzweek national radio Jazz charts during the week of June 21, 2010.
Vega grew up immersed in the heart of two vibrant New York City music scenes: Jazz and Salsa. In addition to learning about these two musical styles with some of the great legends, he received his formal training studying trumpet with Sydney Baker, Henry Nowak, Mike Lawrence, Stan Shafran, Laurie Frink, Richard Brezowski, and Jerry Gonzalez. He studied Jazz harmony and improvisation with Susan Winder, Bobby Rogovin, and Lonnie Hillyer. Vega studied Afro-Caribbean percussion with Luis Bauzo. Vega attended The Long Island University-Brooklyn Center and graduated from the legendary High School of Music and Art.
A much-in-demand musician, he has performed with Mongo Santamaria, with whom he recorded numerous CDs, Mario Bauza’s Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, including their first-ever European tour, and Ray Barretto and the New World Spirit. Vega was privileged to record three projects with this landmark group, including the Grammy-nominated “Taboo” and “Contact.” During his time with Barretto, Vega was called upon to join the Tito Puente Latin Jazz Orchestra as lead trumpeter. Vega recorded with Puente’s Orchestra many times over, including the Grammy-winning “Mambo Birdland,” “Dancemania ’99,” and “Obra Maestra.”

Leader

In addition to his busy sideman and teaching schedule, Vega has also been developing his bands. The Ray Vega Quartet (bebop and beyond), Ray Vega, and The New York Latin Jazz All Stars (following in the footsteps of Mongo, Barretto, and Fort Apache).
Vega has performed at the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art (both in NYC), the Indianapolis Museum of Art (five years in a row), the San Jose Jazz Festival (1999, 2000, 2004, 2005), The Blue Note, Birdland, The Jazz Standard, Tula’s in Seattle, Jazz at The Bistro in St. Louis, Mo, The Blue Wisp in Cincinnati, Churchill Grounds in Atlanta, Jazz en Carolina-Puerto Rico, Artsplosure in Raleigh, NC, the Battery Park Salsa Series and the South Street Seaport/Heineken Latin Jazz Series, The Duncan Theatre in West Palm Beach Fla., the 2002 U.S. Open, the Berne International Jazz Festival and Marian’s Jazz Room in Switzerland, and the Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Festival. Vega has brought his bands on two recent tours of Europe and the Blue Note Cafe in Beirut, Lebanon. While in Lebanon, Vega participated in three concerts that The American Embassy in Beirut sponsored.
A recent high point in Vega’s career has been his August ’08 trip to Australia, where he performed and recorded the Australian premiere of the classic Miles Davis/Gil Evans work, Sketches of Spain. In ’09, Vega returned to Adelaide to perform the famous “Porgy and Bess” arranged by Gil Evans for Miles Davis’ recording by the same name.

Trumpet Teacher/ Jazz Educator

Ray is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Vermont. Along with coaching 4 Jazz combos, Ray teaches trumpet and Jazz history.
As an educator, Ray Vega has been invited to conduct master classes in trumpet performance, jazz improvisation, brass performance techniques, and Afro-Caribbean jazz. Leader
In addition to his busy sideman and teaching schedule, Vega has also been developing his bands. The Ray Vega Quartet (bebop and beyond), Ray Vega, and The New York Latin Jazz All Stars (following in the footsteps of Mongo, Barretto, and Fort Apache).
Vega has performed at the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art (both in NYC), the Indianapolis Museum of Art (five years in a row), the San Jose Jazz Festival (1999, 2000, 2004, 2005), The Blue Note, Birdland, The Jazz Standard, Tula’s in Seattle, Jazz at The Bistro in St. Louis, Mo, The Blue Wisp in Cincinnati, Churchill Grounds in Atlanta, Jazz en Carolina-Puerto Rico, Artsplosure in Raleigh, NC, the Battery Park Salsa Series and the South Street Seaport/Heineken Latin Jazz Series, The Duncan Theatre in West Palm Beach Fla., the 2002 U.S. Open, the Berne International Jazz Festival and Marian’s Jazz Room in Switzerland, and the Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Festival. Vega has brought his bands on two recent tours of Europe and the Blue Note Cafe in Beirut, Lebanon. While in Lebanon, Vega participated in three concerts that The American Embassy in Beirut sponsored.
A recent high point in Vega’s career has been his August ’08 trip to Australia, where he performed and recorded the Australian premiere of the classic Miles Davis/Gil Evans work, Sketches of Spain. In ’09, Vega returned to Adelaide to perform the famous “Porgy and Bess” arranged by Gil Evans for Miles Davis’ recording by the same name.
THIS IS RAY VEGA (PREVIEW)
Originario del Sur del Bronx, RAY VEGA es un veterano de las bandas de Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaría, Mario Bauza, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Héctor Lavoe, Johnny Pacheco, Larry Harlow, Pete “El Conde” Rodríguez y Louie Ramírez, por nombrar algunos. Ray ha actuado y grabado con Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Mel Torme, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Steve Turre, Israel Lopez “Cachao”, Las Leyendas De La Fania, Pete Escovedo, The Chico O’ Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Paul Simon, John Santos y The Machete Ensemble, José José, Sheila E., Yomo Toro, Anna Saeki, Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Big Band, Diane Schuur, The Mike Stewart Big Band, Michel Camilo, Kirk Franklin, The Bob Belden Big Band, Dave Samuels y The Caribbean Jazz Project, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Jeanie Bryson, Eddie Palmieri, James “Jabbo” Ware y The Me, We and Them Orchestra, La Orquesta Sinfónica De Simón Bolívar, Sandro De Las Americas, The Mingus Big Band, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Bebo Valdez y Celia Cruz, entre muchos otros. Ray trabaja actualmente con el renombrado compositor clásico contemporáneo Osvaldo Golijov, interpretando la primera trompeta y solista en la obra aclamada por la crítica; “La Pasión Según San Marcos.
Ray ahora se ha establecido como uno de los innovadores de la escena internacional del jazz y la música latina. Trompetista, percusionista, compositor y arreglista con múltiples talentos, presenta el jazz desde una perspectiva refrescante, original y contemporánea. Sus dos grabaciones en el sello Concord Picante, su debut homónimo “Ray Vega” y “Boperation”, junto con su primer lanzamiento en el sello Palmetto “Pa’lante”, han sido bien recibidos por la crítica, el público y los músicos. . El segundo CD de Palmetto de Vega, “Squeeze, Squeeze”, también recibió elogios de la crítica, incluido Four Stars en la revista Down Beat.
El último CD de Vega, “East-West Trumpet Summit”, es una colaboración con el trompetista de Seattle Thomas Marriott. El CD fue lanzado en el verano de 2010 en Origin Records y alcanzó el número 1 en las listas de jazz de la radio nacional Jazzweek durante la semana del 21 de junio de 2010.
Vega creció inmersa en el corazón de dos vibrantes escenas musicales de la ciudad de Nueva York: el jazz y la salsa. Además de aprender sobre estos dos estilos musicales con algunas de las grandes leyendas, recibió su formación formal estudiando trompeta con Sydney Baker, Henry Nowak, Mike Lawrence, Stan Shafran, Laurie Frink, Richard Brezowski y Jerry González. Estudió armonía e improvisación de jazz con Susan Winder, Bobby Rogovin y Lonnie Hillyer. Vega estudió percusión afrocaribeña con Luis Bauzo. Vega asistió a la Universidad de Long Island-Centro de Brooklyn y se graduó de la legendaria Escuela Secundaria de Música y Arte.
Músico muy solicitado, ha actuado con Mongo Santamaría, con quien grabó numerosos CD, la Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra de Mario Bauza, incluida su primera gira europea, y Ray Barretto and the New World Spirit. Vega tuvo el privilegio de grabar tres proyectos con este grupo emblemático, incluidos “Taboo” y “Contact”, nominados al Grammy. Durante su tiempo con Barretto, Vega fue llamado a unirse a la Tito Puente Latin Jazz Orchestra como trompetista principal. Vega grabó con la Orquesta de Puente muchas veces, incluyendo “Mambo Birdland”, “Dancemania ’99” y “Obra Maestra”, ganadoras del Grammy.

Líder

Además de su apretada agenda como acompañante y docente, Vega también ha estado desarrollando sus bandas. The Ray Vega Quartet (bebop y más allá), Ray Vega y The New York Latin Jazz All Stars (siguiendo los pasos de Mongo, Barretto y Fort Apache).
Vega ha actuado en el Museo Americano de Historia Natural, el Museo de Arte Moderno (ambos en Nueva York), el Museo de Arte de Indianápolis (cinco años consecutivos), el Festival de Jazz de San José (1999, 2000, 2004, 2005), The Blue Note, Birdland, The Jazz Standard, Tula’s en Seattle, Jazz at The Bistro en St. Louis, Mo, The Blue Wisp en Cincinnati, Churchill Grounds en Atlanta, Jazz en Carolina-Puerto Rico, Artsplosure en Raleigh, Carolina del Norte, el Battery Park Salsa Series y South Street Seaport/Heineken Latin Jazz Series, The Duncan Theatre en West Palm Beach Florida, el U.S. Open 2002, el Festival Internacional de Jazz de Berna y el Marian’s Jazz Room en Suiza, y el Festival de Jazz Heineken de Puerto Rico. Vega ha llevado a sus bandas a dos giras recientes por Europa y al Blue Note Café en Beirut, Líbano. Mientras estuvo en el Líbano, Vega participó en tres conciertos patrocinados por la Embajada de Estados Unidos en Beirut.
Un reciente punto culminante en la carrera de Vega ha sido su viaje de agosto de 2008 a Australia, donde actuó y grabó el estreno australiano de la obra clásica de Miles Davis/Gil Evans, Sketches of Spain. En 2009, Vega regresó a Adelaide para interpretar el famoso “Porgy and Bess” arreglado por Gil Evans para la grabación de Miles Davis del mismo nombre.
Profesor de Trompeta/ Educadora de Jazz
Ray es actualmente profesor titular en la Universidad de Vermont. Además de entrenar cuatro combos de jazz, Ray enseña historia de la trompeta y el jazz.

Suggested Listening

Chapter Two (Truth Revolution Records, 2014)
Squeeze Squeeze (Palmetto, 2004)
Boperation (Concord, 1999)

© 2015 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – FEATURED PHOTO: Tomas Peña
A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Editor-in-Chief Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject. His writing appears on Latin Jazz Network; Chamber Music America magazine and numerous other publications.

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