December 17, 2019
Donald Vega is a brilliant pianist and has been a member of Ron Carter's band for a long time. We interviewed him.
What made you desire to be a jazz pianist ?
I come from a family of musicians. I studied classical piano when I was young but my uncle, who was also a pianist, used to play all sorts of jazz standards. I remember listening to him improvising on the piano. But it wasn't until I came to the U.S. and heard the recordings of Charlie Parker that I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician. Something in his music touched me, and right away I knew Jazz was for me.
In your opinion, what is jazz today ?
Jazz is one of the United States' greatest cultural exports to the world. It is a genre of improvisation, collaboration and expression. Its art form as a means of personal and public expression is critical in this day and age. Just as importantly, many artists from all over the world are taking elements of jazz and integrating them into their own music, making culturally relevant tunes for the next generation.
How do you choose your repertoire and the musicians to play with?
I select my repertoire based on the venue and audience. I always have a story I want to share through my music. Right now it's immigration, which is the theme for my next album. It's about my own experience migrating to the US from Central America. As for the musicians, I have been working with the same musicians for a few years now. There are so many great musicians in NYC and I'm lucky to have found and worked with friends who share the same vision as me: telling a good story, making great music, and having fun along the way.
Jazz Piano: an espresso with Donald Vega copyright Jazzespresso 2019.
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