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In Loving Memory of Our Friend
Victor Venegas

... see photos of Victor here..

Victor Venegas: An original "Watermelon Man"
February 26, 1932 -- February 12, 2006

Victor Venegas, elder statesman of the Latin bass for more than 50 years began his illustrious career on the south side of Chicago where his family had settled after leaving Durango Mexico. Inspired by the great blues tradition of the big bands that made their way through the city, Victor began playing the bass at local honky tonks of Chicago's South Side. He continued to hone his craft in the service where he played in the army band in Germany. After he completed his stint in the U.S. Army, Victor went back to Chicago where he met percussionist, Nicolas "Cuco" Martinez. By the time Armando Sanchez's Nuevo Ritmo arrived in Chi-town, these two musicians had become proficient in Afro-Caribbean music. Meeting Armando Sanchez in Chicago was to be the turning point in Venega's life.

Vic became the bassist for Nuevo Ritmo that consisted of some of the very best Latin musicians in the country at the time in the 40s. Nuevo Ritmo emerged as the first "charanga" band in the U.S. inspiring the music of Charlie Palmieri and Johnny Pacheco. Victor's contribution and association with Nuevo Ritmo brought him to the West Coast where he played with such illustrious names in jazz and Latin jazz as Errol Garner, Cal Tjader, and Mongo Santamaria whose band he helped form. Moving to NY proved to be a wise choice, as he became the first call bassist for many of the top bands. Numbered among these were Eddie & Charlie Palmieri, Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, la Lupe and Ismael Rivera y sus Cachimbos. His discography boasts a who's who in the business.

Victor Venegas was an active musician up until his last two years. He played with the Latin Jazz Alliance as well as Zon del Barrio where he can be heard in his last recording. He taught music at both the Boy's Harbor Conservatory and the Bronx H.S. of Music under the direction of Willie Rodriguez, pianist for Machito and Conjunto Libre to name a few.

In his last 17 years, Victor could always be seen alongside his life partner, Aida Martinez. He is survived by eight adult children.


By Aurora Flores





The Following is a Partial Discography for Victor Venegas

Tito Allen, Maldades
CD (Alegre 6002) Released 1975; Re-Issued 1995
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York

Johnny Almendra Y Los Jovenes Del Barrio, Jóvenes Del Barrio, Live
CD (RMM 82253) Released 1998;
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa/Charanga

Conjunto Candela, Conjunto Candela
CD (Combo 2002) Released 1972; Re-Issued 1994
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa

Conjunto Candela, Conjunto Candela, Vol. 2
CD (Combo 2003) Released 1977; Re-Issued 1997
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa

Grupo Caribe, Son De Melaza
CD (CMS Records 0053) Released 2000;
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa

Celia Cruz, (con Johnny Pacheco) - Tremendo Cache
CD (Vaya V 37) Released 1975;
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York

Chivirico Davila, Nuevos Conceptos / New Concepts
CD (Cotique 1099) Released 1978; Re-Issued 1997
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York

Chivirico Davila, Su Nuevo Estilo
CD (Cotique 1061) Released 1971; Re-Issued 1999
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York

Joe Loco, Loco Motion
CD (Fantasy 24733) Released 1961; Re-Issued 1994
Category: Dance Traditions => Big Band Mambo Jazz

La Lupe, Mongo Introduces La Lupe
CD (Milestone 9210) Released 1963; Re-Issued 1993
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa

Johnny Pacheco, Pupi & Pacheco: Los Dos Mosqueteros
CD (Vaya 63) Released 1977; Re-Issued 1994
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York

Lou Pérez & His Orchestra, Fantasia Africana
CD (WS Latino 4281) Re-Issued 1999
Category: Salsa/Son => Son, Guaracha, Guajira

Peruchín, The Incendiary Piano Of Peruchín! Plus Orquesta Nuevo Ritmo De Cuba: The Heart Of Cuba - 2 Albums On On CD!
CD (GNP 2264) Released 1999;
Category: Dance Traditions => Tropical Dance: Various => Cuba

Louie Ramirez - Ray De La Paz, ¡Con Caché!
CD (Caiman 9004) Released 1984;
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa

Victor Rendon, The Art Of Playing Timbales, Vol. 1: Book & CD Package
Book and CD Package (MIM MIM003) Released 2001;
Category: Instructional => Afro-Latin Percussion

Luisito Rey Y Su Orquesta, ...Desde El Barrio De La Salsa
CD (MAX 722317) Released 2000;
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa

Ismael Rivera, Esto Si Es Lo Mio
CD (Tico 1428) Released 1978;
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York

Ismael Rivera, Maelo
CD (Tico 1437) Released 1980;
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa

Willie Rosario, Otra Vez
CD (Inca I 1044) Released 1975;
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York

Mongo Santamaria, Afro American Latin
CD (Columbia 62220) Released 1969; Re-Issued 2000
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz

Mongo Santamaria, At The Blackhawk
CD (Fantasy 24734) Released 1962; Re-Issued 1994
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz

Mongo Santamaria, Mongo At The Village Gate
CD (OJC 490) Released 1963; Re-Issued 1990
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz

Mongo Santamaria, Mongo Introduces La Lupe
CD (Milestone 9210) Released 1963; Re-Issued 1993
Category: Latin Jazz => Afro-Cuban Jazz => Cuba

Mongo Santamaria, Watermelon Man
CD (Milestone 47075) Released 1963; Re-Issued 1998
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz

Mongo Santamaria, ¡Arriba!
CD (Fantasy 24738) Re-Issued 1996
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz

Mongo Santamaria, ¡Sabroso!
CD (OJC 5281)
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz

Cal Tjader, Black Hawk Nights
CD (Fantasy 24755) Released 1958; Re-Issued 2000
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz

Cal Tjader, Latino Con Cal Tjader
CD (Fantasy 24732) Released 1960; Re-Issued 1994
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz

Charlie Vazquez, Romanticamente
CD (WS Latino 4400) Released 1973; Re-Issued 2002
Category: Bolero => Bolero

Javier Vazquez Y Su Salsa, Javier
CD (Salsoul/Sony 83958) Released 1976; Re-Issued 2000
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York

Various Artists, Live From Soundscape: Latin New York 1980-1983
CD (DIW 408) Re-Issued 1998
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa


Continue to Victor's Photo Gallery here, Thank you for stopping by and God Bless


Aurora Flores
Web page by Aurora Flores and Sonny Cruz.



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