Victor Venegas

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.



Year Album Artist
2006 Collectables Classics [Box Set] Esther Phillips Bass
2005 Blue Voices: The Finest in Swingin’ Jazz Ballads, Vol. 3 Bass
2004 Ritmo Afro-Cubano Bass
2003 Cigar Lounge, Vol. 3 Bass
2002 Cal Tjader Plays Harold Arlen/West Side Story Cal Tjader Bass
2002 Classic Jazz: Jazz Masters Bass
2002 Concerts in the Sun Cal Tjader Bass
2002 On the Waterfront David Amram Bass
2001 Forces: 1977-1982 The Terrorists Composer
2001 The NuYorican Funk Experience: Salsa Caliente de Nu York! Composer
2000 1999 Ford Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival Bass
2000 Black Hawk Nights Cal Tjader Bass
2000 Desde el Barrio Dela Salsa Luisito Rey Bass
2000 Les Incontournables Chick Corea Bass
2000 Les Incontournables Mongo Santamaria Bass
2000 Son de Melaza Grupo Caribe Bass
1999 Brazilian Horizons, Vol. 2 Bass
1999 Burnin’/Confessin’ the Blues Esther Phillips Bass
1999 Reads on the Road Jack Kerouac Bass
1999 Skin on Skin: The Mongo Santamaria Anthology 1958-1995 Mongo Santamaria Composer
1999 Su Nuevo Estilo Chivirico Davila Bass
1998 Live [CD] Los Jovenes del Barrio Bass
1998 Live from Soundscape: Latin New York 1980-1983 Bass
1998 Sabroso: The Afro-Latin Groove Bass
1997 Monsters from the Deep Lawrence Weiner Bass
1997 Reconfirmando Andreu Johnny Almendra Bass
1997 The Riverside Records Story Bass
1996 Evolucionando Johnny Almendra & Los Jovenes del Barrio Bass
1996 Familia RMM Recordando a Selena Bass
1996 Latin Jazz Dance Classics Bass, Composer
1996 Masters of Jazz, Vol. 7: Jazz Hit Singles Bass
1996 Nu Yorica! Culture Clash in New York City Bass
1995 Cal Tjader’s Greatest Hits [1995] Cal Tjader Bass
1995 Fania Latin Jazz Party Fania All-Stars Composer
1995 Maldades Tito Allen Bass
1995 Pull My Daisy David Amram Bass
1994 Recordando El Ayer Celia Cruz Bass, Bass Instrument, Main Personnel
1993 Chivirico Chivirico Davila Banjo, Bass, Guitar (Bass), Main Personnel
1992 Maelo Ismael Rivera Bass, Guitar (Bass), Main Personnel
1992 Pa’ Bravo Yo Justo Betancourt Bass, Guitar (Bass), Main Personnel
1992 Skins Mongo Santamaria Bass, Unknown Contributor Role
1990 Atlantic Jazz: Singers Bass
1982 Latin-Jazz Celebration David Amram Bass
1981 Amarcord Nino Rota Bass
1980 At Home/Around the World David Amram Bass, Bass (Electric)
1978 Esto Sí Es Lo Mío Ismael Rivera Bass, Bass Instrument, Member of Attributed Artist
1977 Vamonos Pa’l Monte Eddie Palmieri Composer
1976 Confessin’ the Blues Esther Phillips Bass
1976 Eddie’s Concerto Eddie Palmieri Composer
1976 Javier Javier Vazquez y Su Salsa Bass
1975 Otra Vez Willie Rosario Bass, Bass Instrument, Main Personnel
1975 Tremendo Caché Celia Cruz Additional Personnel, Bass, Bass Instrument
1974 Celia & Johnny Celia Cruz Bass, Bass Instrument, Main Personnel
1973 Tres de Café y Dos de Azúcar Johnny Pacheco Bass, Guitar (Bass), Main Personnel
1972 Recorded Live at Sing Sing, Vol. 1 Eddie Palmieri Composer
1971 Harlem River Drive Harlem River Drive Bass
1971 La Perfecta Combinacion Johnny Pacheco Bass
1970 Mongo Santamaria’s Greatest Hits Mongo Santamaria Bass
1969 Afro-American Latin Mongo Santamaria Bass
1967 Mongo Explodes Mongo Santamaria Bass, Composer
1963 Mongo Introduces La Lupe Mongo Santamaria Bass
1963 Mongo at the Village Gate Mongo Santamaria Bass, Unknown Contributor Role
1963 Watermelon Man Mongo Santamaria Bass, Composer, Guitar (Bass), Main Personnel, Unknown Contributor Role
1962 At the Black Hawk Mongo Santamaria Bass, Composer
1962 Ay Que Rico! Francisco Aguabella Composer
1962 Go, Mongo! Mongo Santamaria Bass
1962 Pin Pon, Bon Bon Joe Loco Bass
1961 Cal Tjader Plays, Mary Stallings Sings Cal Tjader Bass, Bass Instrument, Main Personnel
1961 Loco Motion Joe Loco Bass
1960 Latino Mongo Santamaria Bass, Unknown Contributor Role
195? Fantasy Sampler Bass
1959 Arriba! Mongo Santamaria Bass, Composer
1959 Sabroso! Mongo Santamaria Bass
La Fama Mac Gollehon Bass
Set Me Free Esther Phillips Bass

Source:  Internal