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Tomorrows by Donald Vega

Nicaraguan-born pianist Donald Vega first gained national attention by winning Down Beat Magazine's 2007 Student Soloist Award. In 2008 he took first place at the University of West Florida's Philips Jazz Piano Competition. For Tomorrows, his debut release as a leader, the Julliard School of Music student presents a swinging set of original compositions and standards with the aid of drummer Lewis Nash and bassist David J. Grossman.

Throughout the disc, Vega exhibits firm technical command with inventiveness and sensitivity. The flowing eighth-note runs on the up-tempo "Wake Up!," romantic lyricism on Charlie Haden's "Our Spanish Love Song" and in-the-pocket swinging allure on "Indian Summer" reveal an informed improviser, daring yet well aware of various nuances of the piano trio lineage. Vega's harmonic re-working of "Speak Low" puts a modern twist on the Kurt Weil classic. Indeed the pianist's composing and arranging skills are as impressive as his playing. The music has plenty of breathing room to realize the potential of the trio.

A disc highlight is Vega's original song "Tomorrows" with vocalist Maria Neckham gracefully expressing the pianist's lyrics of hope and optimism. The tune's complex melodic contour and rhythmic momentum is reminiscent of Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. With exceptional support from drummer Nash and bassist Grossman, Vega's debut makes a strong impression.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Donald Vega
  • CD Title: Tomorrows
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Imagery Records
  • Tracks: Wake Up!, Our Spanish Love Song, Indian Summer, The Will to Nurture, Nostalgia, Speak Low, Tomorrows, Butterfly Waltz
  • Musicians: Donald Vega (piano), Lewis Nash (drums), David J. Grossman (bass), Maria Neckam (vocals #8)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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