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Awake CD cover

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Awake

Featuring:
Vinson Valega - Drums
Terell Stafford - Trumpet
Anton Denner - Alto Saxophone, Flute, & Piccolo
Chris Bacas - Tenor & Soprano Saxophones & Clarinet
Jon Cowherd - Piano
Josh Ginsburg - Bass

Recorded:
5/26/05 & 5/27/2005 at Bennett Studios, Englewood, NJ.
Recording, Mixing, and Mastering
Engineer - Frank D. Fagnano

Read Vinson's "Awake" essay

Read the excerpt from Walt Whitman's, "Leaves of Grass," which appears in the insert.

Read the press release

MP3s and interviews

Reviews

Streaming MP3s from Awake:

1) Luftmenschen (Anton Denner)

2) Awake (Vinson Valega)

3) Fog (Sheryl Bailey)

4) This is What Democracy Sounds Like [Part I]  (Vinson Valega)

5) Undertow (Josh Ginsburg)

6) Ed Blackwell (Vinson Valega)

7) This is What Democracy Sounds Like [Part II]  (Vinson Valega)

8) Stacked Sienna (Vinson Valega)

9) Sputnik (Chris Bacas)

10) This is What Democracy Sounds Like [Part III] (Vinson Valega)

11) The Trend is Your Friend (Vinson Valega)

12) Take Time for Love
(James Williams)

An assortment of Free MP3s since 2005:

2005

Vinson Valega Trio,
featuring Anton Denner (alto sax), Gary Wang (bass), & Vinson Valega (drums)
Live at Blues Alley in Washington, DC (April 2005):

The Best Thing For You Would Be Me (Irving Berlin) - with Andrew Adair on piano [5.8 mb]
Jiminy Cricket Goes To The Go-Go Dance (Vinson Valega) [5.1 mb]


Live at the Cape May Jazz Festival  (April 2005):

Jackie-ing (Thelonious Monk) [7.7 mb]
Georgia (Ray Charles) [9.0 mb]

=====================================================

2006

Vinson Valega Quartet,
featuring Anton Denner (alto sax), Dimitri Moderbacher (tenor sax) & Josh Ginsburg (bass)
Live at The Garage in New York City (December 2006):

Long and Wrong (Vinson Valega) [7.6 mb]
Gab (Dimitri Moderbacher) [8.8 mb]
Where or When (Rogers & Hart) [8.7 mb]

=====================================================

2007

Vinson Valega Sextet
, featuring Anton Denner (alto sax & flute); Chris Bacas (tenor & soprano saxophones); Phil Grenadier (trumpet), Jon Cowherd (piano), Gary Wang (bass):
Live at Chris' Jazz Cafe, Philadelphia, PA (June 2007):

Lost (Wayne Shorter) [8.5 mb]
Tom Thumb (Wayne Shorter) [10.8 mb]
Stacked Sienna (Vinson Valega) [8.2 mb]

=====================================================

2008

Vinson Valega Quartet
, featuring Chris Bacas (soprano sax), Sheryl Bailey (guitar), Gary Wang (bass), & Vinson Valega (drums)
Live at The 55 Bar, New York City (April 2008):

Think of One (Thelonious Monk) [12.6 mb]
The Trend is Your Friend (Vinson Valega) [5.3 mb]


=====================================================

2009

Vinson Valega Quartet
, featuring Chris Bacas (soprano sax), John Hart (guitar), Gary Wang (bass), & Vinson Valega (drums):
Live at The 55 Bar, New York City (December 2009):

Black Fire (Andrew Hill) [9.9 mb]
Send One Your Love (Stevie Wonder) [6.3 mb]

=====================================================

2010

Vinson Valega Sextet
, featuring Anton Denner (alto sax & flute); Chris Bacas (tenor & soprano saxophones); Mike Fahn (trombone), Matthew Fries (piano), Gary Wang (bass) & & Vinson Valega (drums)::
Live at Smalls Jazz Club, New York City (May 2010):

Doesn't It Feel Great to Be Alive? (Vinson Valega) [9.2 mb]
Blood Count (Wayne Shorter) [8.3 mb]
A Moment of Silence (Vinson Valega) [9.5 mb]

=====================================================

Vinson Valega Radio Interview
Alisa Clancy, DJ from KCSM, 91.1 in San Francisco, interviews Vinson and Anton in July 2004

Part I [8.6 mb]
Part II [12.7 mb]

Sharif Abdus-Salaam, DJ with WKCR, 89.9 in New York City, interviews Vinson in February 2010
Part I [31.4 mb]
Part II [26.9 mb]

Reviews:

"Valega is still one of the most swinging drummers around, with snappy trap-work, and an ear for compositions that carry a sense of cool freedom, bringing to mind the 1960s modal sounds in a contemporary setting."
~~ AllAboutJazz - 5/27/07 (.pdf)   by Mark F. Turner

============================

"This is a lively session that demands repeated listens. The arrangements start with tight voicings of the heads with just enough of a modernist twist to make them sound fresh. This is particularly true of the leader's short interludes titled, 'This is What Democracy Sounds Like' which are interspersed throughout the session. The soloing is all solid, with a deft sense of ensemble balance."
~~ Cadence Magazine - June 2007 (.pdf)

=============================

"Valega's website indicates deeper intentions of progressive activism and open communication on political topics, though the swinging music is in no way didactic."

~~ Philadelphia Daily News - June 1, 2007 (.pdf)

=============================

"With a superb sextet of confident players, Valega's newest effort has plenty of melody, subtlety and depth. He's explicit when discussing the affinities between creative music and a participating society -- and mirrors that with the egalitarian push-and-pull of the group on Awake."

~~ SongWithOrange, by Kellen Yamanaka, 6/14/07

=============================

"An album of unquestioned elegance, spunk and rich melodies, Awake is an engaging collection of music bound to capture your attention, hold your interest and never, never put you to sleep."

~~ eJazzNews.com, by Edward Blanco, 7/2/07

=============================

"Valega is a spectacular drummer, delivering just what each track needs without over-powering or taking center stage at the expense of musicality. He is obviously much more than a drummer. He is a composer, able to invent interesting and engaging melodies and harmonies which provide the perfect vehicle for extended improvisations. He is a band leader with the considerable skills to know how to pick the musicians that will make his music as effective as possible."

~~ Jazz Improv NY Magazine, by Dave Miele, October 2007 (.pdf)

=============================

~~ Mentioned in Jazz Times column about political activism, by David Adler, September, 2008:
"Playing Changes for Change" (.pdf)

=============================

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