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RAY VEGA: Trumpet Talk Plus

Current Projects - April 7, 2017

Ray Vega and his New York Latin Jazz All-Stars Quintet-
This is my main project where simply stated, we present Fiery Latin Jazz from a Nuyorican perspective.
This group features:
Zaccai Curtis/Piano
Andy Eulau/Bass
Willie Martinez/Drums
Chembo Corniel/Tumbadoras

The Ray Vega Quartet-
This group was created to showcase my original compositions and classic Jazz standards.
We aim to Swing!

East-West Trumpet Summit
Ray Vega and Thomas Marriott on Trumpets
Great rhthym sections all over the world!!

Ray Vega and Son De Los Montes
Vega's Vermont based Salsa band!

Ray Vega new CD with Thomas Marriott hits #1 - August 3, 2010

On the week of June 21st 2010 the new CD by Ray Vega and Thomas Marriott entitled "East-West Trumpet Summit" hit number 1 on Jazzweeks national jazz radio charts.

Ray Vega on Videos On Line - August 3, 2010

Oh, I don't do that--- - August 2, 2010

With so many conservatory's graduating so many wonderful players year after year, it's evident that the job market for these great players is quite limited.

Jazz players feel that it's enough for them to know some Freddie Hubbard licks......this alone is not going to be enough to survive today. I'm finding that many respected institutions are graduating a myriad of jazzers that cannot read music. So much focus is put on soloing but not on the basics of musicianship. These schools are also putting out many lead players that cannot solo. Schools need to have a balance between small groups and big bands. This would force jazzers to do their thing in the combos and then be challenged in the larger ensembles. By the same token, lead players need to open themselves to situations where they are challenged to get their soloing together. If you're a jazz player, I suggest that you find a way to play in classical brass ensembles, or classical chamber ensembles etc.etc.. Your ability to perfom a variety of styles will pay off greatly.

So many wonderful trumpet players are graduating from conservatories feeling that they'll be getting a gig with the L.A. Phil. or the Chicago Symphony only to realize that they have to play wedding gigs. I recently had a brief conversation with master trumpeter and educator Jim Thompson. We were discussing the demands of the modern day symphonic trumpeter. He felt that in this day and age the symphony section should consist of A) The principal player B) The second player/ who knows how to make the 1st player sound amazing C) The 3rd player who specializes in pic and Eb/D trumpet along with his/her regular duties D) The 4th player who can play commercial lead trumpet and know how to improvise along with his/her regular duties. Many orchestras survive because of their subscription series that will more then likely have a very prominant "Pops" component. The modern day classical player needs to be ready to perform Marvin Hamlisch with the same level of proficiancy as they would if they were performing Mahler. Again, your ability to perform a variety of styles will pay off greatly.

Keep your ears and your heart open to the wonderful world of MUSIC!!

Section Playing- - August 1, 2010

In this modern age of music I find that the most successful players are the ones that can cover several different tasks. If you're a jazz player it's not enough to just have your solo chops up. You must be able to sight read well. You should have the tools to be able to play in a trumpet section and play 4th or 1st. If you don't have lead chops together then at least make sure that you know how to play in that section and make the lead player sound awesome. Your abilty to grasp the vibe of the section (Rapidly!) is vital to your success. The lead player has a really difficult job to do and it only makes it harder when his/her section mates are not holding up their end of the deal. Lead players that lay out so that they can get the juicy high note at the end of the piece are not doing their job. Lead playing is about laying down the groove so that the section (and the rest of the band) knows where to go. It's about laying down a style.....not honking out some high notes. Jazz players that lay out (or low) so that they can save their chops for the big solo, are not holding up their end of the deal either. Again, your job is to make the music that's being played sound good. I'm finding these days that more and more improvised trumpet parts are now being put in the lead part. Too many lead players have not taken the time to learn some basic concepts of improvisation. Even the very basic of soloing can help a great lead player become an even better player. Jazz players can learn something from lead players and lead players can learn something from jazz players.

A topic that never gets touched is the fact that a trumpet section (whether classical or jazz or comercial) has to play in tune and that their sounds should match timbre wise. This means color wise. Orchestral players are very serious about this. I find that this concept gets overlooked outside of the orchestral world. Older jazz and commercial players do have this together. Younger players can learn a lot by just sitting in a section and keeping their mouths shut and their ears wide open. More on this later!

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