Ray Vega

Primary Instrument: Trumpet

Ray Vega

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/or recorded with Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Mel Torme, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Israel Lopez “Cachao”, The Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, The Lincoln Center Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Paul Simon, Yomo Toro, Eddie Palmieri, La Orquesta Sinfonica De Simon Bolivar, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Bebo Valdez, and Celia Cruz....
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Nice group, nice groove, and really good trumpet playing. Here's one of the wings of New York Latin jazz, firmly in the modernist jazz tradition. Vega, a trumpeter, plays a tune each by Wayne Shorter and by McCoy Tyner, and his own compositions. It could almost be a session on Blue Note from 1961, and that's praise. The sextet takes off over a percussion base of Wilson “Chembo” Corniel on percussion and Adam Weber on drums; the soloists, including Bobby Porcelli on alto saxophone and Igor Atalita on piano, sound more than comfortable. Recommended.”

Peter Watrous -

“The mantle of Jazz Messengers-tinged Latin jazz has been at least partly assumed by trumpeter”percussionist Ray Vega’s sextet, with Squeeze, Squeeze a prime example of exciting, creative improvising and danceable polyrhythms that are seemingly inexhaustible.”

Will Smith - Down Beat Magazine

“Vega's own style of trumpet imparts the best in his forerather's traits: the crisp, intelligent delivery of Freddie Hubbard, the passionate fortitude of Kenny Dorham, the clean precision of Woody Shaw, and the romantic depth of Chet Baker and Art Farmer.”


“...The trumpeter's instrumental artistry lies in consisency, well-connected phrases, command of all registers and good taste.”

Owen Cordle

“...Vega is a hornman with deep roots in Latin music and Afro-Cuban Jazz.”

- The New York Daily News

“Whether on trumpet of flugelhorn. which he plays with equal dexterity, he featured a sound that is bolder than that of many jazz horns, yet avoided the insistent upper register flights that is the norm among latin players.”

- The Boston Globe

“This fabulous recording from this underrated, Bronx-born Puerto Rican trumpeter is a shout out to the jazz trumpet gods. A veteran sideman with Ray Barretto and Mongo Santamaria, Vega pull out all the stops on this project, which could have been titled, “How to Marry Latin Rhthyms to Jazz and Still Swing.” “

Eugene Holley Jr. - New York Latino

  • BUY

    East-West Trumpet Summit

    Origin Records
  • BUY

    Squeeze Squeeze

    Palmetto Records

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Primary Instrument:

Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.

Ray is currently a lecturer at the music conservatory at SUNY Purchase. Along with conducting The Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra and The Purchase Jazz Lab Band, Ray coaches a small Jazz combo, teaches jazz trumpet and Jazz history. At Purchase, Vega joins a stellar faculty that includes Jon Faddis, Hal Galper, John Abercrombie, Charles Blenzig, Todd Coolman, Graham Ashton, Randy Johnston, Javon Jackson, Dena Derose, Richie Morales, Doug Munro, John Riley, Jim Pugh, John Clark and Jim Rotondi.

As an educator, Ray Vega has been invited to conduct master classes in trumpet performance, jazz improvisation, brass performance techniques and afro-caribbean jazz. These are some of the schools and organizations with whom Ray has worked with:

- Manhattan School of Music (NY)
- The Kennedy Center (Washington, DC)
- Music Advancement Program-The Julliard School (NY)
- The New School (NY)
- City College (CUNY)
- Lehman College(CUNY)
- Flynn Arts Latin Jazz (Burlington, Vermont) 2003 through 2007, Artist in Residence
- El Consevatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico
- City Folk Organization (Dayton, Ohio) 2003-2004, Artist in Residence
- Central State University in Ohio
- Cincinnati Conservatory of Music
- University of Dayton/ Dayton, Ohio
- Litchfield Summer Jazz Camp
- Oscar Schindler Performance Arts Center(NJ) Summer Jazz Camp
- University of the Arts-Philadelphia,Pa.
- University of North Carolina @Chapel Hill (2001,2005)
- Oaktown Jazz School-Oakland,Ca.
- New York City Department of Education
- Albany, NY School District
- Bedford, NY School District
- Scarsdale, NY School District
- Notre Dame University/Lebanon
- Tortola Public School System BVI
- Victoria College, Victoria, Texas
- York College,Queens-NY CUNY
- Purchase Summer Jazz Initiative

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Rank: 2,665 Views: 7,142
Featured recording “East-West Trumpet Summit”

East-West Trumpet Summit

Origin Records (2010)
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