Vinson Valega

Born: March 12, 1965    Primary Instrument: Drums

Vinson Valega

Vinson Valega grew up in a musical family near Washington, D.C., studying classical piano from age seven until switching to the drums when he was 12. He played drums for three years in the All-County Jazz Ensemble during high school and subsequently held the drum chair in the University of Pennsylvania Big Band during college.

After graduating from UPENN with a B.A. in Economics, Vinson came to New York City in the early 90's to study music at the New School in Manhattan, where he studied with Marvin “Smitty” Smith (of The Tonight Show Band) and Norm Freeman (of the New York Philharmonic)....
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”Valega is still one of the most swinging drummers around, with snappy trap-work, and an ear for compositions that carry a sense of cool freedom, bringing to mind the 1960s modal sounds in a contemporary setting.” ~~~ Mark F. Turner, AllAboutJazz, 5/27/07

“Valega's website indicates deeper intentions of progressive activism and open communication on political topics, though the swinging music is in no way didactic.” ~~~ Philadelphia Daily News, 6/7/07

“Valega is a spectacular drummer, delivering just what each track needs without over-powering or taking center stage at the expense of musicality. He is obviously much more than a drummer. He is a composer, able to invent interesting and engaging melodies and harmonies which provide the perfect vehicle for extended improvisations. He is a band leader with the considerable skills to know how to pick the musicians that will make his music as effective as possible.” ~~~ Dave Miele, Jazz Improv Magazine, October 2007

As a Leader

Record Label - Consilience Productions
Year Released - 2010
1) I Knew You'd Say That (Matthew Fries)
2) Sunset and the Mockingbird (Duke Ellington)
3) A Moment of Silence (Vinson Valega)
4) Biophilia (Vinson Valega)
5) Let (Mark Miller)
6-7) Day by Day with Kathelin Gray (Cahn/Stordahl/Weston/Ornette Coleman)
8) I Just Wanted to See What You Look Like(Vinson Valega)
9) Charm (Vinson Valega)
10) November Spring (Nicki Denner)
11) Always (Irving Berlin)
12) Talk Time (Chris Bacas)
13) Strange (Vinson Valega)
14) Think of One (Thelonious Monk)
15) Doesn't It Feel Great to Be Alive? (Vinson Valega)
Vinson Valega (drums); Anton Denner (alto saxophone & flute); Chris Bacas (tenor & soprano saxophones); Mark Miller (trombone); Matthew Fries (piano); Gary Wang (bass)

Record Label - Consilience Productions
Year Released - 2006
1) Luftmenschen (Anton Denner)
2) Awake (Vinson Valega)
3) Fog (Sheryl Bailey)
4) This is What Democracy Sounds Like [Part I](Vinson Valega)
5) Undertow (Josh Ginsburg)
6) Ed Blackwell (Vinson Valega)
7) This is What Democracy Sounds Like [Part II](Vinson Valega)
8) Stacked Sienna (Vinson Valega)
9) Sputnik (Chris Bacas)
10) This is What Democracy Sounds Like [Part III](Vinson Valega)
11) The Trend is Your Friend (Vinson Valega)
12) Take Time for Love (James Williams)
Vinson Valega (drums); Anton Denner (alto saxophone & piccolo); Chris Bacas (tenor & soprano saxophones and clarinet); Terell Stafford (trumpet); Jon Cowherd (piano); Josh Ginsburg (bass)

Record Label - Consilience Productions
Year Released - 2003
1) Jiminy Cricket Goes To The Go-Go Dance (Vinson Valega)
2) The Best Thing For You Would Be Me (Irving Berlin)
3) You're Nearer (Rogers & Hart)
4) Stumble Monk (Vinson Valega)
5) Tide Pools (Anton Denner)
6) Long & Wrong (Vinson Valega)
7) Blood Count (Billy Strayhorn)
8) Black Fire (Andrew Hill)
9) New Haven (Anton Denner)
10) Fuggedaboutit (Anton Denner)
11) Jiminy Cricket Goes To The Go-Go Dance(Reprise)
12) You Must Believe In Spring (Michel LeGrand)
13) Secret Love (Fain & Webster)
Vinson Valega (drums); Anton Denner (alto & soprano saxophones; flute); Gary Wang (bass)

Record Label - Consilience Productions
Year Released - 1998
1) The Sermon (Hampton Hawes)
2) Poinciana (Bernier & Simon)
3) I Just Wanted To See What You Look Like (Vinson Valega)
4) Hatteras Refection (Matthew Fries)
5) Dance Cadaverous (Wayne Shorter)
6) Without a Song (Youmans & Rose)
7) Send One Your Love (Stevie Wonder)
8) Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Van Heusen & Burke)
Vinson Valega (drums); Matthew Fries (piano); Greg Ryan (bass)

As A Side Musician

Song For Today
Matthew Fries
Record Label - TCB
Year Released - 2001
The Black Cat
The Riddle
Phineas (Donald Brown)
Cabbage Cafe
Fire and Rain (James Taylor)
Trey of Hearts (Thad Jones)
Retro (Song for Today)
Prelude/Karen at the Dance
Arioso (James Williams)
Lucky To Be Me (Leonard Bernstein)
Matthew Fries (piano); Vincent Herring (as); Bill Mobley (trmpt); Greg Ryan (bass); Vinson Valega (drums)

Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact Thank you.

Primary Instrument:

New York, NY

Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.

Extensive teaching experience in a lesson environment, including three years on the staff of the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Palo Alto, California (1999-2001). Rates vary.

Slingerland drums; 21" Paste jazz ride; 20" Istanbul "Mel Lewis" crash ride; 14" Zildjian A hi-hats from the '70s.

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"Ed Blackwell"

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Download jazz mp3 “A Moment of Silence” by Vinson Valega Download jazz mp3 “The Trend Is Your Friend” by The Vinson Valega Group Download jazz mp3 “Long & Wrong” by Vinson Valega

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