Ray Vega performs 12 concerts in Beirut

Published July 13th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Following the concerts performed by New York tenor saxophonist Charles Owens, Blue Note Jazz Cafe in Beirut hosts the renowned American trumpet player Ray Vega who performed concerts between July 2 – 6, to be continued between 8 – 17 of the same month, according to the Lebanese daily al Nahar. 

At Music and Art, Vega performed with the Senior Jazz Ensemble, Senior Wind Ensemble, and Senior Symphonic Orchestra. While at M&A, Vega studied trumpet with Sidney Baker, Stanley Shafran and Michael Lawrance. Then he attended The Long Island University Brooklyn Campus on a double music scholarship.  

Vega immersed himself in the world of New York Salsa. The bands that he performed and/or recorded with, include: Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Louie Ramirez, Hector Lavoe, Ray Barretto , Johnny Pacheco, Tito Nieves, Adalberto Santiago, Celia Cruz just to name a few. While on the Salsa scene, Vega landed a job with the legendary Afro-Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria.  

This was the beginning of Vega’s journey in the world of Latin Jazz. Vega performed with Mongo for 4 and 1 half years (Ray recorded 3 CD's with Mongo). From Mongo, Vega went to Mario Bauza's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, for 7 months. This included the first European tour by this legendary ensemble.  

After Bauza, Vega went to work with Ray Barretto and New World Spirit (Ray recorded 2 CD's with Barretto, including the Grammy nominated "Taboo" on the Concord Picante label). While with Barretto, Vega was called to join Tito Puente's Latin Jazz ensemble (Vega has recorded on 6 Cd's with Puente, including the Grammy winning "Mambo Birdland" ). Ray balanced both jobs for 2 years, then decided to go full time with Puente due to many scheduling conflicts. 

Presently, Vega is a Concord Jazz recording artist with 2 CD's out, "Ray Vega" and "Boperation". "Boperation" is a Latin Jazz celebration of some of Ray's favorite Jazz trumpet players. He still performs and records as Lead Trumpeter with Tito Puente's Latin Jazz Orchestra, The Bronx Horns, and participates in many exciting projects (Conrad Herwig's Grammy nominated "The Latin Side of Coltrane" and Joe Henderson Grammy winning "The Joe Henderson Big Band"). Ray Vega was the winner of the B.R.I.O. award for music composition in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1995 – Albawaba.com  

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