Instrument: Trumpet/Flugelhorn | AMT Products Used: P800
“The mic is the best I have ever used…Period” – 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, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez and Louie Ramirez to name a few. Ray has now established himself as one of the innovators of the New York Jazz trumpet scene. 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” was released in Feb.2004 and has also received critical acclaim including Four Stars in Down Beat Magazine.
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 and Afro-Caribbean percussion with Luis Bauzo. Ray Vega is a graduate of the legendary High School of Music and Art.
A much in-demand musician, he has performed with Mongo Santamaria with whom he recorded three CD’s, 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”. It was during his time with Barretto that 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”. Vega is the last lead trumpeter of this legendary ensemble.