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Carlos Vega drummer

Once again, a very special event ........ An All Star Night of Music

The 6th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 12, 2003
Friday Night
@ La Ve Lee
12514 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA
818-980-8158


Carlos Vega Memorial Drum Scholorship - click here for more info


Carlos Vega drummer Carlos Vega drummer
Carlos Vega drummer Carlos Vega drummer


Featuring ALL of the "Cats"........ Larry Klimas / Tim Pierce / John Peña / Alex Acuña / Steve Ferrone / Tris Imboden / Neil Stubbenhaus /Alex Ligertwood / Jason Scheff / Rosemary Butler / Monet / David Paich / Richard "Gajate" Garcia and many more special guests


A Few Reviews...

6th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert
at La Ve Lee Dec. 12th, 2003

Nothing beats a birthday party when you assemble together some of the finest players in L.A. honoring a fellow musician henceforth David Garfield once again pulling the reigns for the 6th year in a row paying tribute to his mentor Carlos Vega. Every year it seems to get better and better and this year was no exception.

The place was filled to capacity for both shows. The first set showcased nine tunes which were repeated in the second set. The all-star band opened with "Two Bunch Samba", a lively Brazilian number from Garfield's newest CD, "Giving Back" which showcased the brilliant acoustic guitar / scat embellishments from Mike O'Neill and some beautiful flute from Larry Klimas. Also some Brazilianesque background vocals from Jason Scheff, Alex Ligertwood, and Rosemary Butler capped it off nicely. The rest of the band was augmented from Tim Pierce (guitar), John Pena (bass), Tris Imboden (drums), Richie Gajate-Garcia (percussion), and Walt Fowler (trumpet). Other musicians would rotate as the evening wore on.

Next was a funky Wayne Shorter instrumental "Beauty And The Beast" (not to be confused with the Disney tune) that I enjoyed alot. I never heard this tune before but it came from a 1977 album, "Native Dancer". Garfield commented that Vega loved this album alot and introduced to him. This showcased Klimas on soprano sax sounding ever-so "Shorterish" in his improvisation along with some raucous playing from O'Neill this time on electric guitar and Garfield took his usual aggressive keyboard wizardry.

"Blues For Ronnie" was a powerful blues shuffle written by Garfield, Vega, and David Paich back in the days when Garfield fronted the band Karizma. Paich himself sat in the keyboard chair for this one ever sounding so immaculate, along with solos from Fowler, Pena, Pierce, and Garcia.

It was time to bring the singers up. "After the Love Has Gone" was performed as a duet from Scheff and Ligertwood along with Butler and unknown singer Monet on backgrounds. This was originally put in the set for Bill Champlin to sing lead on since he was the composer of it. However due to complications from the flu Champlin had drop out of this performance. He apparently caught the bug while on tour back east with Chicago for their Christmas tour. Although Ligertwood and Scheff did a nice job on the tune it didn't sound the same without Champlin. Neil Stubenhaus sat in on bass for this one as well. It turned out that both Scheff and Imboden left after the first set because they were both coming down with the same virus.

Monet stepped up to the mic for an uplifting rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady". She is a very promising young talent with a strong vocal range. Steve Ferrone was in the drum chair by this time as well.

Butler recalled her days with the Jackson Browne band by pulling off a powerful rendition of his signature tune "Runnin' On Empty" done in the same rocking manner along with Pierce doing excellent replication of David Lindley's original slide guitar solo from the original recording. Butler in fact sang background on the original as well.

Ligertwood was showcased on a souped-up version of Steely Dan's "Josie" which also can be found on Garfield's new CD. Solos were from Fowler, Pierce, O'Neill, and Garfield. This arrangement was far more raw than the original Dan version.

It was back to the instrumental mode with a heartwarming original Garfield dedicated to Vega entitled, "Los" showcasing O'Neill on acoustic again and some fine tenor from Klimas. John Ferraro was playing drums on this number.

Garfield introduced the next number "El Ano Que Viene" as another tune that Vega turned him on to years earlier. It was originally performed by a Cuban singer, Isac Delgado whom I'm not familiar. This was a very rhythmic yet tender Cuban son once again spotlighting O'Neill and augmented by some rich horn arrangements from Fowler and Klimas.

The set closed out with all the singers returning for a somber version of "You Got a Friend" with Butler handling the lead vocals. Her voice still remains strong to this day. She's a vocalist that unfortunately only slipped through the cracks and has remained underrated by the masses however appreciated by other big name vocalists. She currently is a vocal coach for teen star Hillary Duff.

The second set was joined by the likes of other guest players such as Chicago guitarist Keith Howland, saxophonist Brandon Fields, bassist Jimmy Earl, and David Williams (guitarist from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album).

The evening had no low points. Garfield always make this birthday concert more than a party, it's an event.

-- Helene Lieberman




Check out exciting moments from past concerts :

December 7, 2008 - 11th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 8, 2007 - 10th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 9, 2006 - 9th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 3, 2005 - 8th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 11, 2004 - 7th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 12th, 2003 - 6th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 18th, 2002 - 5th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 8th, 2001 - 4th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 9th, 2000 - 3rd Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert

December 7th, 1998 - 1st Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert



The Carlos Vega Memorial Drum Scholorship - click here for more info