The wide scope of his works demonstrates an extraordinary understanding of many musical languages. He has written scores of compositions and arrangements for big band, extended compositions for chamber and symphonic orchestra settings and his jazz composing credits read like a who’s who of the best modern instrumentalists, singers and composers. Heralded by critics as a master of contemporary idioms, composer and arranger Vince Mendoza has become a primary choice for the world’s most sophisticated contemporary musicians.
Born in 1961 in Norwalk, Connecticut, Mendoza began learning classical guitar and piano from an early age. His musical influences ran from Bach to Aretha Franklin to Henry Mancini. However, discovering Miles Davis, Gil Evans, and later, Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg gave him a further complex perspective of the construction of musical forms and ideas. Taking up the trumpet during high school, he later earned a degree in music composition at Ohio State University, before moving to Los Angeles. The music of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter became a strong influence on his big band writing. He began working in the studios, composing music for television, while continuing to add to his extensive body of work written for big band. He completed his post-graduate composition and conducting studies at the University of Southern California. During this time he met a kindred spirit in drummer Peter Erskine, who included him in his mixed ensemble recording, “Transition” on Denon records. Mendoza contributed several compositions to this recording as well as on some of Erskine’s subsequent recordings. They have since become frequent collaborators.
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“Mendoza daringly expands the vernacular…to position him as the clear and natural
successor to the late Gil Evans.” (All About Jazz)
“… lyrical, sophisticated and witty.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Vince Mendoza is a “musician’s musician”… managing to interpret the best of his
predecessors’ styles, adding undeniable twists and proprietary genius …” (Jazziz)
…”breathtakingly beautiful music of the first order” (Amazon.com)
“Vince’s strikingly original compositions are heralded by musicians and critics alike as
innovative,hip and seductively lyrical.” (Downbeat)
“Writer arranger Vince Mendoza is a master of contemporary
idioms…” (Jazz Times)
“… one of the most promising young jazz figures sans instrument.” (Downbeat)
“His music is subtle, complex and full of harmonic mysteries.” (Tom Schnabel, KCRW)