Vega’s music demonstrates his chameleon-like ability to interpret and deliver the perfect trumpet sound and stylistic approach for each piece, In his album “Squeeze, Squeeze,” one hears a distinct jazz ballad style on McCoy Tyner’s soulful “Contemplation” and a markedly different classical tone on an original called “Sky!” He plays a straight-ahead jazz tone on the melody of Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile” and then muscles into a brash, over-the-top lead trumpet timbre; the slick arrangement of Black Nile includes a mambo section before the out-chorus.
Just as Vega was snatched up by demanding bandleaders as a youth, so too has he developed a steady quintet of dedicated musicians who match his concept and expertise. He’s bringing with him his right-hand man on congas, Wilson “Chembo” Corniel, who has recorded on most of Vega’s recordings as a leader. Chembo was a 2009 Grammy nominee who honed his skills at Boy’s Harbor in New York and the prestigious La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba, under the direction of the great Chucho Valdés. Today, Chembo is considered one of the top percussionists on the scene.
The drummer for the group is Diego Lopez, who, after moving to the United States from Milan Italy,found himself playing with some of the greatest leaders in blues including Otis Rush, Junior Wells, and Shirley Scott. He moved to New York City in 2000 and immediately established himself as a serious contender in the Latin jazz and jazz worlds.
Bassist Andy Eulau has performed classical, blues, R&B, and jazz in concert halls and clubs on four continents. He can be found with a long list of artists, most notably Ray Barretto, Freddy Bryant, Chembo Corniel, Grant Green Jr., Junior Mack, and Bobby Sanabria. His recording credits include dates with the Bill Charlap Trio and the Anthony Braxton Quartet.
Vermont Jazz Center regulars might remember the pianist who will be appearing with the group because he was featured last September with Donald Harrison’s group. Zaccai Curtis performs with artists such as Ralph Peterson, Brian Lynch, Ray Vega, Wallace Roney,Cindy Blackman, Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, Papo Vasquez, and many others.
Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $15 for students with ID (contact VJC about educational discounts). Tickets are available at In the Moment Record Store, online at www.vtjazz.org or they can be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, (802) 254-9088, ext. 1, or purchased at the door.