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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vinson Valega: Biophilia

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Vinson Valega is a devoted environmental and progressive activist who seems engaged with his craft on an aesthetic level but also, it seems, in a profoundly logical, moral way. The drummer's compositions sound significant, as if every note were saying something, down to the slightest tap of the drumstick. This is not to say his records are wholly serious products: Valega demonstrates that quirk and laughter have their place alongside order and gravitas. The strength of Biophilia lies in that its selection of songs work with each other, performed--perhaps even defined--in relation to each other. “Strange" is ...

LINER NOTES

Vinson Valega: Biophilia

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Biophilia We are in love with life and can't get enough of it! Life forms fascinate us and nature beckons with its mind-blowing “Wow!" factor as we experience first-hand its every possible shape, size, color, smell, and feel. We contribute money to preserve it and we even watch it on TV. This elemental human phenomenon was described eloquently in a 1984 book by the great socio-biologist, E.O. Wilson, entitled “Biophilia," where he details our “innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes." Because we came out of evolution's rich tapestry, we are quite naturally inclined to both ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Vinson Valega

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Meet Vinson Valega: Vinson grew up in a musical family near Washington, D.C., studying classical piano from age seven until switching to the drums when he was 12. He played drums for three years in the All-County Jazz Ensemble during high school and subsequently held the drum chair in the University of Pennsylvania Big Band during college. After graduating from UPENN with a B.A. in Economics, Vinson came to New York City in the early 90's to study music at the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan, where he studied with Marvin “Smitty" Smith (of The Tonight Show ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vinson Valega: Awake

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The underlying message inside Vinson Valega's Awake summons a quiet call to social and political awareness, just as past artists have done like saxophonist Sonny Rollins' Freedom Suite (Riverside, 1958). But for the activist and the pacifist alike, the message in this new release is clear and to the point--with music that is conscientious, alive, and immersive. A few things have changed since Valega's last recording Consilience (Consilience Productions, 2003). As the previous release featured the drummer in a trio setting, the new recording finds him leading an extremely tight sextet. Things have naturally opened up with ...

MEGAPHONE

Get Involved!

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'Tis the season...the election season, of course. That's right...it's almost that time again where we enter the polling booth to either affirm what a swell job our elected officials have been doing, or we pull the lever to “kick-the-bums-out!" In either case, our choice employs our representatives for the next term, where they get to decide how to divvy up the money and figure out how best to use the people's tool, also known as our government. This is the one time where it's easiest for us citizens to get involved with designing and organizing our communities--to exert our freedom ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Vinson Valega Trio: Consilience

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Contrary to popular belief, it's not always size that matters. This is definitely true of the jazz trio. The combination of connection, interaction, and execution can produce magic in the hands of just three focused musicians just as well as a large ensemble. Jazz great Bill Evans sums the goal of the jazz trio as follows: “Especially, I want my work, and the trios if possible, to sing."

Consilience features the Vinson Valega Trio: drummer Vinson Valega, saxophonist/flutist Anton Denner, and bassist Gary Wang. Based in New York, each musician has an extensive resume with names such as Clark Terry, ...



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