Carlos Vega PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 10:46

Carlos Vega

Born: December 7, 1956, Cuba

Died: April 7, 1998.


Cause of death: self inflicted gunshot wound.

Notable because: Seemingly successful and contented acclaimed LA drummer kills himself rather than play with James Taylor.

Carlos Vega was a Los Angeles-based session drummer best known for his studio recordings and tours with James Taylor. Vega, 41, died at home of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound on the eve of a scheduled April 8 appearance with Taylor on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," according to a published report.

Vega, who had just returned from a European tour with Taylor, was set to go on the road with the artist again for the U.S. leg of his tour. The tour is scheduled to begin May 29 at the Beacon Theatre in New York following shows April 27 at Sting's all-star Rainforest Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall and a special appearance with the Boston Pops Orchestra at Boston's Symphony Hall.

Besides his work with Taylor over the past decade -- which included the studio releases "Never Die Young," "New Moon Shine," and "Hourglass," plus Taylor's "(Live)" album -- Vega had recorded and/or performed with Freddy Hubbard, Boz Scaggs, Lee Ritenour, Vince Gill, Reba McIntire, Olivia Newton-John (including the "Grease" soundtrack), Larry Carlton, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and Randy Newman, according to sources. Vega was also a member of keyboardist David Garfield's fusion band Karizma.

Carlos Vega was born in Cuba and brought to the U.S. at an early age. He grew up in L.A.  and went to high school with Mike Landau, Jeff Porcaro, and Steve Lukather…

In 1975 he co-formed a band called Karizma with a close friend of his by the name of David Garfield. They recorded their first CD in 1983. 1975 would find Carlos on the road with a rising teen idol by the name of Shaun Cassidy. The keyboard player in this band was Jimmy Greenspoon of Three Dog Night fame. Carlos’ star would begin to shine at this point, being called upon for various sessions and live performing.

The eighties would have Carlos performing live with many artists such as Larry Carlton, Karizma and a budding talent named Vince Gill.  When Vince left Pure Prairie league, Carlos was called upon to lay the foundation for Mr. Gill’s new sound. It would not be until the early nineties that the two would reunite in recorded performance.

In the middle 80s James Taylor asked Carlos to join his touring lineup, but this would not stop his relentless pursuit at studying and performing in the studio. In 1985 Carlos was asked to be a part of a memorable live performance, taped live in front of an audience featuring such performers as Dave Grusin, Diane Schuur, Lee Ritenour, and Abe Laboriel. This show would be the groundbreaker for many to come.

The late 80s and early 90s found Karizma recording four CDs for Japanese release. In 1992 Carlos formed yet another band called Burning Water with fellow JT alumnus Michael Landau. Jumping back a few years, Carlos performed some fine grooves on Linda Ronstadt’s album entitled "Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind."

A picture of the man hangs above the stage he once played in North Hollywood at The Baked Potato. It's a shrine from fellow musicians to a fallen brother. He loved this little club and spent many a night either jamming here or just hanging enjoying the vibe.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2008 16:11

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