Louie Vega: ride on the rhythm

A few days after the interview, it’s time for Vega’s photo shoot. Though he’s barely left the studio since then, he's buzzing when he arrives at the Brooklyn studio with Anané, who’s serving as his stylist for the day. “Oh man,” he says, “so much has been happening. I’ll send you an email!” Sure enough, that evening, a message from Vega appears. Written in a stream-of-consciousness flow of joy — the subject is the Brian Jackson album that he and Gonzalez are producing — his excitement jumps from the screen.

“We have been recording artists and musicians b2b, it’s been a nonstop love train up in the studio recording the icon Brian Jackson on Fender Rhodes, piano, synths, background vocals, and lead vocals,” it reads in part. It goes on to mention the other artists taking part in the recording, a dream team of musicians including Luisito Quintero on percussion, Sherrod Barnes and Binky Brice on guitar, Gene Perez on electric bass, and Lisa Fischer, Cindy Mizelle, Raheem DeVaughn, Rich Medina, Moodymann, Josh Milan and Rahsaan Patterson on vocals, among others. “And there are some more huge surprises in store!”

It’s been over four decades since he began spinning as a teen, but Vega obviously isn’t going anywhere — not with the enthusiasm with which he still approaches his work, and certainly not when he and his music are still connecting with the next generation. He name-checks younger Brooklyn artists like Cesar Toribio — in 2021, he laid down a series of mixes of ‘Perdón’, from Toribio’s Conclave project on Love Injection Records — and the musclecars duo. “There’s so much talent coming out of Brooklyn right now, and it’s nice to create a little bridge with all these artists,” Vega says. “I actually just did a remix for musclecars that came out incredible. They haven’t even heard it yet!” The man, it seems, never stops — and he probably never will.