Tommy Vig

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Tommy Vig
Tommy Vig in Budapest 2009 (Photo by Zsolt Pethő)\
Tommy Vig in Budapest 2009
(Photo by Zsolt Pethő)\
Background information
Born (1938-07-14) 14 July 1938 (age 84)
OriginBudapest, Hungary
GenresJazz, classical
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger, bandleader
InstrumentsVibraharp, drums, percussion, xylophone, marimba
Years active1940s–present
LabelsKlasszikus Jazz, Milestone, Discovery, Tom Tom, Pannon Jazz, Dobre, Mortney, Take V, Luz

Tommy Vig (July 14, 1938) is a percussionist, arranger, bandleader, and composer.

Life and work[edit]

Born to a musical family in Budapest, Tommy Vig was internationally recognized as a child prodigy by the age of 6, playing drums with his father, clarinetist Gyorgy Vig. He performed concerts in Budapest on State Radio, at the City Theatre, the Academy of Music, and the National Circus. At the age of 8, he made the album The World Champion Kid Drummer with Austrian jazz players in Vienna, including Hans Koller, Ernst Landl, and the Hot Club of Vienna for Elite Special. At the age of 9, his drumming won him the 1947 MGM-Jazz Competition in Budapest. As a result, he made several recordings with the Chappy's Mopex Big Band for His Master's Voice.

Vig completed his studies at the Bartók Conservatory in 1955 and the Ferenc Erkel Music High School in 1956. Following the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, he fled to Vienna, where he played concerts with Fatty George and Joe Zawinul. After moving to the United States, he was given a scholarship to Juilliard School of Music. Since then he has been writing and conducting concerts. Vig worked with Red Rodney, Don Ellis, Cat Anderson, Terry Gibbs, Art Pepper, Milcho Leviev, Joe Pass, and the Miles Davis-Gil Evans Big Band. In 1961 he settled in Las Vegas, where he performed with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Curtis, Woody Allen, Judy Garland, and Tony Bennett. He was the percussionist on many of Rod Stewart's albums.

In 1970, Vig moved to Los Angeles, where he worked in the studios of Warner Bros., Fox, Universal, CBS, Columbia, ABC, Disney, Goldwyn, MGM, and Paramount. He participated in about 1500 studio sessions in Hollywood, including two Academy Awards, and produced, directed, and conducted the official 1984 Olympic Jazz Festival for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. He also organized and conducted the annual Las Vegas Caesars Palace Mini-Jazz Festivals for many years. He wrote the music for 30 films and television shows, including They Call Me Bruce? and The Kid with the Broken Halo. As a percussionist, he participated in the recording of Quincy Jones's soundtrack to Roots. He played on the Jazz Festival Münster 1986 with Lajos Dudas and participated with the hr-Jazzensemble and Martin Breinschmid.

Vig gave master classes at California State University, Northridge, and at the Tatabánya Jazz Academy. Over the past fifty years his classical compositions were performed by symphony orchestras in the United States, Germany, and Hungary. He was vice president of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers. Vig was awarded the EmErTon Prize by the Hungarian State Radio in Budapest in 1994. The Hungarian Jazz Federation awarded him first prize in Musical Arrangement in 2006, while the Budapest Jazz Orchestra commissioned and performed his piece "Budapest 1956" in front of U.S. Ambassador April H. Foley at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Since 2006, Vig has lived with his wife Mia (of The Kim Sisters) in Hungary, where they have been performing concerts,[1] appearing on radio and television,[2] and recording albums, including ÜssDob (B'eat It!, Tom-Tom Records), Now and Then (Pannon Jazz), and Welcome to Hungary! The Tommy Vig Orchestra 2012 Featuring David Murray (Klasszikus Jazz, 2011).

Vig invented the scientific method of Non-Subjective Valuing (U.S. Patent 6038554) which is detailed in his book How to Tell What Things Are Really Worth.




Film and television scores[edit]


Tommy Vig's compositions performed in the U.S. and Europe include:

  • Concerto for Clarinet, Vibraharp and Orchestra
  • Concerto for Vibraharp and Orchestra [9]
  • Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra
  • Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra
  • Four Pieces for Neophonic Orchestra
  • Collage for Four Clarinetists[10]
  • A Clarinetist and a Harpist
  • Music for Tuba and Vibraharp [11]
  • Budapest 1956 (Concerto for Jazz Drums and Orchestra)[12][13]


With The Beach Boys

With Stephen Bishop

  • Bish (ABC Records, 1978)

With Art Garfunkel

With Diana Ross

With Marlena Shaw

  • Acting Up (Columbia Records, 1978)

With Dusty Springfield

With Rod Stewart

With The Manhattan Transfer

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tommy Vig & Budapest Jazz Orchestra (featuring Mia Kim of The Kim Sisters): Aranyszimfóniák (2014) on YouTube
  2. ^ Tommy and Mia Vig on FÁBRY (2018) on YouTube
  3. ^ President Award (
  4. ^ Vibe Summit IV honoring Terry Gibbs on YouTube
  5. ^ Tiegel, Eliot (23 October 1965). The Jazz Beat. Nielsen Business Media. pp. 10–. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  6. ^ Milestone Records 9000 series discography Archived 2012-09-10 at
  7. ^ The Kid with the Broken Halo (TV movie) on YouTube
  8. ^ They Call Me Bruce? on YouTube
  9. ^ Concerto for Vibraphone and Orchestra (2013) on YouTube
  10. ^ Performance at Artists Club of Budapest (2010) on YouTube
  11. ^ Music for Tuba and Vibraphone (2013) on YouTube
  12. ^ "In Memory of 1956" Concert (2018) on YouTube
  13. ^ Concerto for Orchestra (2018) on YouTube

External links[edit]