Carlos Vega

Last updated

Carlos Vega (December 7, 1956 – April 7, 1998) was a Cuban-born Los Angeles-based session drummer best known for his performances with James Taylor. As a part of the L.A. studio scene from the late 1970s through the 1990s, Vega contributed to a wide variety of music during the rise and popularity of the California singer-songwriter movement.



Carlos Vega was born in Cuba on December 7, 1956 and grew up in Los Angeles, with his parents and had 1 older sister.(SUE), California. He attended [[Eagle Rock High School] ( See E.R. at the Monterey Pop Jazz Festival with Carlos as a High school age student performing) (In Eagle Rock) A suburb Of L.A.(Los Angeles)|He knew Grant High School students] and collaborated with such future artists as Michael Landau, Jeff Porcaro, and Steve Lukather.

Vega co-formed his first band, Karizma, in 1975 with Michael Landau, David Garfield, Lenny Castro, and Jimmy Johnson. [1]

Vega performed with a wide variety of musicians across many genres, [2] including a 13-year collaboration with James Taylor [3] (featured on Live , Hourglass , Never Die Young , and New Moon Shine ) and on Olivia Newton-John's double platinum album, Physical . He performed on the soundtrack for the film Grease . [4]

As a musician, Vega was a major influence on Jeff Porcaro, another outstanding Los Angeles studio musician and drummer for Toto. [5]

During a break from a James Taylor tour, on April 7, 1998, Vega died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. [6] While most media reports stated that he died at home, it has also been written that his body was found on a deserted road overlooking Los Angeles. [7]

Since his death, there have been annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concerts, featuring drumming greats like Steve Ferrone and John Robinson. [8] [9]

Selected Discography

Related Research Articles

Vinnie Colaiuta American drummer

Vincent Peter Colaiuta is an American drummer who has worked as a session musician in many genres. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2014. Colaiuta has won one Grammy Award and has been nominated twice. Since the late 1970s, he has recorded and toured with Sting, Joni Mitchell, and Frank Zappa, among dozens of other appearances in the studio and in concert.

Jeff Porcaro American drummer (1954 - 1992)

Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro was an American drummer, songwriter and record producer. He is best known for his work with the rock band Toto, but is one of the most recorded session musicians, working on hundreds of albums and thousands of sessions. While already an established studio player in the 1970s, he came to prominence in the United States as the drummer on the Steely Dan album Katy Lied.

Greg Phillinganes American keyboardist

Gregory Arthur Phillinganes is an American keyboardist, singer-songwriter, and musical director based in Los Angeles, California. A prolific session musician, Phillinganes has contributed the role of keyboards to numerous albums representing a broad array of artists and genres. He has toured with notable artists, such as Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and Toto, served as musical director for Michael Jackson, and has released two solo studio albums.

Michael Gary Baird is an American drummer. He has played drums for Airborne, Vasco Rossi, Billy Idol, Hall and Oates, Pointer Sisters, Donna Summer, Riverdogs, Animotion, Richard Marx, Michael Bolton, Rick Springfield, Eddie Money, Kenny Loggins, Yumi Matsutoya, Juice Newton, and Prism. He was a touring drummer for Journey on their tour for the Raised on Radio album.

Neil Stubenhaus is an American bass guitarist.

Dann Lee Huff is an American record producer and songwriter. For his work as a producer in the country music genre he has won several awards including the Musician of the Year award in 2001, 2004, and 2016 at the Country Music Association Awards and the Producer of the Year award in 2006 and 2009 at the Academy of Country Music. He is the father of American singer and songwriter Ashlyne Huff and brother of Giant and White Heart drummer David Huff.

Leland Sklar American musician

Leland Bruce Sklar is an American electric bass guitarist and session musician. He is a member of the Los Angeles-based instrumental group The Section, who served as the de facto house band of Asylum Records and were one of the progenitors of the soft rock sound prevalent on top-40 radio in the 1970s and 1980s. Besides appearing as the backing band on numerous recordings by artists such as Jackson Browne, Carole King, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, and James Taylor, the Section also released three solo albums of instrumental rock. Both in The Section and separately, Sklar has contributed to over 2,000 albums as a session musician. He also has toured with James Taylor, Toto, Phil Collins and other major rock and pop acts, and recorded many soundtracks to films and television shows.

Weldon Dean Parks is an American session guitarist and record producer from Fort Worth, Texas, United States.

Catherine Judith "Kate" Markowitz is an American singer-songwriter known as a backup singer who has recorded and performed with a number of singers, most notably James Taylor but also Willy DeVille, Shawn Colvin, Mylène Farmer, Don Henley, Billy Joel, k.d. lang, Lyle Lovett, Graham Nash, Randy Newman, Warren Zevon, and John Kaizan Neptune. She is the daughter of the late film and television soundtrack composer Richard Markowitz.

William Franklin Lee IV is an American bassist known for his work on the Late Show with David Letterman as part of the CBS Orchestra and before that "The World's Most Dangerous Band" when Letterman hosted the NBC "Late Night" show.

I Found Someone

"I Found Someone" is the name of a chart single originally written and composed for Laura Branigan by Michael Bolton and Touch keyboardist Mark Mangold. The song was a bigger hit for Cher in 1987, reaching the Top 10.

William Frank Reichenbach Jr. is an American jazz trombonist and composer. He is the son of Bill Reichenbach, who was the drummer for Charlie Byrd from 1962 to 1973. He is best known as a session musician for television, films, cartoons, and commercials. He recorded a solo album, Special Edition, where he is featured on tenor as well as bass trombone.

Charles B. Findley is an American session musician. Most widely known as a trumpet player, he also plays other brass instruments such as flugelhorn and trombone. His technical abilities and versatility are renowned even among other session players, with the celebrated session horn player and arranger Jerry Hey saying "Chuck Findley can play anything".

Bob Glaub is an American bass player and session musician. He has played with such artists and bands as Journey, Steve Miller Band, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, Dusty Springfield, Aaron Neville, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Donna Summer, John Lennon, Rod Stewart, Crosby, Stills & Nash Bee Gees and many others.

This article lists the complete discography of Steve Lukather.

Michael Thompson is an American guitarist and songwriter.

Michael Landau American musician

Michael Landau is an American musician, audio engineer, and record producer. He is a session musician and guitarist who has played on many albums since the early 1980s with Boz Scaggs, Minoru Niihara, Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart, Seal, Michael Jackson, James Taylor, Helen Watson, Luis Miguel, Richard Marx, Steve Perry, Pink Floyd, Phil Collins on Two Hearts and Loco in Acapulco, Roger Daltrey, Stevie Nicks, Glenn Frey, Eros Ramazzotti, Whitney Houston, and Miles Davis. Landau, along with fellow session guitarists Dean Parks, Steve Lukather, Michael Thompson and Dann Huff, played on many of the major label releases recorded in Los Angeles from the 1980s–1990s. He has released music with several record labels, including Ulftone Music and Tone Center Records, a member of Shrapnel Label Group.

Dan Higgins is an American saxophone and woodwind player. He has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, Al Jarreau, Maroon 5, Kenny Loggins, Barry Manilow, Elton John, Go West, The Temptations, Lionel Richie, Joe Cocker, Lisa Stansfield, and Eros Ramazzotti. He has over 800 motion picture soundtracks to his credit. He is also known as the saxophone sound of Bleeding Gums Murphy from The Simpsons. Dan Higgins graduated from North Texas State University.

Thomas Morgan Edwards, better known as Tommy Morgan, is an American harmonicist and session musician who has been active since the 1950s. He is considered one of the most heard harmonica players in the world, playing in over 500 feature films.

William S. Schnee is an American musician, music producer, and audio engineer. Schnee has been nominated 11 times for the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical Grammy Award and worked on a multitude of other Grammy nominated and awarded albums. He has won two Grammys, an Emmy for Outstanding Sound for a Television Special, and a Dove Award. In a 45+ year career of very diverse artists, Schnee has received over 135 gold and platinum records and has recorded/mixed over 50 top twenty singles.


  1. "David Garfield : Creatchy : Keyboard Player". Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  2. "Carlos Vega | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  3. "Drummerworld: Carlos Vega". Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  4. Kleiser, Randal (June 16, 1978), Grease, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, retrieved January 15, 2018
  5. "Carlos Vega". Archived from the original on November 22, 2001. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  6. Inc, Nielsen Business Media (April 25, 1998). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  7. Talevski, Nick (April 7, 2010). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. ISBN   9780857121172.
  8. "Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert | Modern Drummer Magazine". Modern Drummer Magazine. November 27, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  9. "Nineteenth Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert | Modern Drummer Magazine". Modern Drummer Magazine. November 1, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2018.