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Musician, Composer And Educator Ray Vega Joins VPR As Host Of 'Friday Night Jazz'

Musician, composer and educator Ray Vega is the new host of Friday Night Jazz on VPR.
Seth Cashman
Musician, composer and educator Ray Vega is the new host of Friday Night Jazz on VPR.

Trumpeter, percussionist, composer, arranger and educator Ray Vega will join Vermont Public Radio this month as the new host of Friday Night Jazz.

Vega is a senior lecturer at The University of Vermont where he teaches Jazz History, directs three jazz combos and heads the Jazz Trumpet Studio. In 2015, UVM honored him with the distinguished title of University Scholar for 2015-2016, making him the first creative artist in the university's history to receive this high honor.

"It's so exciting entering my tenth year living in beautiful Vermont knowing that I'll be joining the wonderful folks at VPR,” Vega said. “I'm looking forward to making new friends who love America's great art form called jazz!"

A native of the South Bronx, Vega has established himself as an innovator in the international jazz and Latin music scenes. In addition to several of his own albums, he is a veteran of the bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, and Mario Bauza, to name a few.

Vega also has performed and recorded with Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Mel Torme, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, The Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Paul Simon and Eddie Palmieri, among many others.

His current music projects are The Ray Vega Latin Jazz Sextet, The Ray Vega Quartet and The New York Latin Jazz All-Stars.

“We're so excited to welcome Ray to the VPR family, and for his extraordinary knowledge and infectious love of jazz to shine,” said VPR Music Director Kari Anderson. “Ray knows jazz from every angle, as a performer, as an educator, and we're thrilled to bring his voice and insights to our listeners.”

Vega’s first program will broadcast on May 18 from 8-11 p.m. Friday Night Jazz can be heard on VPR stations statewide, and at, via smartphones and mobile devices.

Michelle leads the team that oversees station branding, marketing, events, communications, and audience services. She joined VPR in 2002.
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