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