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Read the excerpt from Walt Whitman's, "Leaves of Grass," which appears in the insert.
MP3s from Awake:
An assortment of Free MP3s since 2005:
"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
~~ 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
~~ Jazz Improv NY Magazine, by Dave Miele, October 2007 (.pdf)
~~ Mentioned in Jazz Times column about political activism, by David Adler,
"Playing Changes for Change" (.pdf)
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