Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Valega, Vinson

Valega, Vinson, drummer, composer, b. Silver Spring, MD, 12 March 1965. He grew up in Olney, MD. His father is Thomas Valega (b. 1937, Linden, NJ), and his mother  is Mary Orr (b. 1939, Rahway, NJ). Father was professional jazz musician (saxophones) through college (Ph.D. in Chemistry from Rutgers Univ.). He has one older brother, Thomas (b. 1962, in New Jersey), one older sister, Margaret (b. 1959 in New Jersey), and one younger sister, Catherine (b. 1969 in Maryland).

Vinson grew up in a musical family near Washington, D.C., where he began classical piano lessons at age 6 and continued until he started drum lessons at age 13. He played drums in the All-County Jazz Ensemble of Montgomery County, MD, for 3 years in high school and played in the jazz ensemble at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania (College '87, B.A. in Economics), he moved to New York in the early 90's to study music at the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan (1992-95), where he studied with Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Kenny Washington, John Riley, Vernel Fournier, Bobby Sanabria, and Norm Freeman.

He has performed in many clubs in the New York Metropolitan area, including the Blue Note, Detour, Smoke, Kave' Haz, Cornelia Street Cafe, and Trumpets of Montclair, NJ. Vinson has performed with Grover Washington, Jr., Dakota Staton, Clarke Terry, James Williams, Vincent Herring, Bill Mobley, Patience Higgens, Eric Alexander, and toured Switzerland in 1997 with Harold Mabern. He's also performed for a dance performancy by Manhattan Tap at SUNY Purchase (1997).

He teaches privately and was on the staff of the Stanford Jazz Workshop in California each summer from 1999 to 2001.

Live@147 (1999); Consilience (2002)
As sideperson:
Matthew Fries: Song For Today (1998); Beat on Beat Japanese Label: TV Jazz USA (1999); Ganz Brothers: First Steps (1999); Todd Bashore: Todd Bashore Quartet (2001)
Television broadcasts:
Fox music video channel, FX Sound, performing behind Urban Tap (1997)


Contact information:
(917) 604-8809

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