Vinx | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Vinx 

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Drummer-songwriter extraordinaire Vinx, whose real name is Vincent Dejon Parrette, says he's been infatuated since his Kansas City childhood with sounds he could make with his mouth and hands; he got his first set of bongos when he joined a church youth group. But after that his musical career took a rather circuitous route. A track-and-field athlete, Vinx was all set to compete in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but the U.S. boycott put his ambitions on the back burner. Instead he toured the world as a member of a dance troupe and along the way enlarged his collection of indigenous African drums. Then one year at the Montreux Jazz Festival he caught the attention of Taj Mahal, who was impressed with his percussive prowess and smooth, lush vocals. He was hired by the elder performer, and later by Disney studios (to do a movie score) and Quincy Jones. An impressed Sting wangled a recording deal for him, getting Herbie Hancock and Branford Marsalis to collaborate on Vinx's debut album. The 1990 Rooms in My Father's House shows his stylistic versatility: it contains a melancholic ode to his father, a Vietnam vet who was brutally murdered, while lighter selections mock the inanities of TV and the foibles of British royalty. Vinx's mastery of diverse rhythmic traditions is also obvious. His latest CD, I Love My Job, also fuses different percussive idioms, from ancient tribal sounds to classical piano to rap; some of the heavily jazz-flavored songs are mesmerizing. Backing him up at this Ravinia session are Mark E. Smith (violin and vocals) and percussionists Angel Luis Figueroa and Andrew Daniels. Tuesday, 8 PM , Bennett Hall, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.

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