The Trio of Matthew Fries (piano), Greg Ryan (bass), and Vinson Valega (drums) has been playing together since 1999 now in and around the New York City Tri-State area. This trio has it's own group sound that comes from the tradition of the Ahmad Jamal, Bobby Timmons, and Keith Jarrett trios.
Matthew Fries is a pianist with a classic approach, a keen modern harmonic sensibility, and an overwhelming need to swing. With a crisp touch and singing melodic lines reminiscent of Tommy Flanagan, he draws on influences as diverse as Fats Waller and Keith Jarrett in his individual style. He has a masters degree in music from the University of Tennessee where he studied with the master pianist, Donald Brown. Matthew has performed with Vincent Herring, Tony Reedus, Charlie Persip, Walter Perkins, Jay Leonhart and many others.
Greg Ryan grew up in New York City, and after graduating from Stanford University in 1992, returned to New York to acquire his masters degree in music from the Manhattan School of Music in 1995. There he studied with the late, great Milt Hinton, Harvie S, and Ron McClure. As an active sideman on the New York jazz scene, he has performed with Billy Harper, James Williams, McCoy Tyner and Freddie Bryant, and has co-led the latin band, Grupo Yanqui, for the past three years. Greg is an active educator, teaching privately and at the Stanford Jazz Workshop in California for the past eight years.
Vinson grew up in a musical family near Washington, D.C., studying classical piano from age seven until switching to the drums when he was 12. He played drums for three years in the All-County Jazz Ensemble during high school and subsequently held the drum chair in the University of Pennsylvania Big Band during college.
After graduating from UPENN with a B.A. in Economics, Vinson came to New York City in the early 90's to study music at the New School in Manhattan, where he studied with Marvin "Smitty" Smith (of The Tonight Show Band) and Norm Freeman (of the New York Philharmonic).
Vinson has performed in many clubs in the New York Metropolitan area, including the Blue Note, Smoke, Sweet Rhythm, Jazz Gallery, 55 Bar, Birdland, Smalls, Cornelia Street Cafe, Cleopatra's Needle, and Trumpets of Montclair, NJ. An avid composer, Vinson also teaches privately and served on the staff of the Stanford Jazz Workshop in California from 1999-2001. He has toured throughout North America and Europe with his groups and others, and he appears on Matthew Fries' CD, "Song For Today" (TCB) and the Ganz Brother's release, "First Steps" (Extravaganza). Vinson also has three CDs out as a leader, "Live@147," "Consilience," and "Awake."
In addition, Vinson has also worked with or played alongside with many of the great musicians in jazz, such as Grover Washington, Jr., Dakota Staton, Clarke Terry, James Williams, Donald Brown, Harold Mabern, Jr., Jamil Nasser, Ron McClure, Bob Mintzer, Russell Malone, Peter Bernstein, Mark Turner, Terrel Stafford, Eric Alexander, Jim Rotundi, David Hazeltine, Joel Frahm, Dena DeRose, and Vincent Herring, among others.
More information about each musician can be found at: