Above: Colaiuta with Kenny Garrett in the Five Peace Band

Born February 5, 1956
Brownsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres Rock, pop, jazz, country, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1970s–present

Vincent Colaiuta (born February 5, 1956) is an American drummer who has worked as a session musician in many genres. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1996, and the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2014.

Colaiuta was given his first drum kit when he was seven. He took to it naturally, with little instruction. When he was fourteen, the school band teacher gave him a book that taught him some of the basics. Buddy Rich was his favorite drummer until he heard the album Ego by Tony Williams, an event that changed his life. Colaiuta was also listening to organ groups, notably Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff and Don Patterson.

While a student at Berklee College of Music, when jazz fusion was on the rise, he listened to and admired Alphonse Mouzon and Billy Cobham.

After leaving school, he played local gigs in Boston. He joined a brief tour organized by Al Kooper, then worked in California on an album by Christopher Morris, which Kooper was producing. Although he returned to Boston, he was drawn back to California by friends and his experience recording. He took the bus from Boston to Los Angeles during the blizzard of 1978. After performing in jazz clubs, he won the audition to play drums for Frank Zappa. He toured with Zappa and appeared on the albums Joe’s Garage, Tinsel Town Rebellion, and Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar.

Modern Drummer magazine chose Joe’s Garage as one of the top 25 drum performances of all time. Colaiuta was called out by name by Dale Bozzio (playing the character of Mary) in the lyrics of the song Catholic Girls.

In 1981, he left touring with Zappa to become a studio musician, recording for the band Pages and pop singer Gino Vannelli. Opportunities arose with saxophonist Tom Scott and bassist Larry Klein, who invited Colaiuta to play on a record by his then-girlfriend, Joni Mitchell. When Klein and Mitchell got married, Colaiuta was the best man at their wedding. During the 1980s, he toured with Mitchell. By the end of the 1980s he was living the busy life of a studio musician, recording albums, doing TV and film work during the day, and playing clubs at night.[5] In addition to pop acts, he has worked with jazz musicians Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Buell Neidlinger, and the Buddy Rich Big Band.

In 1990, Colaiuta got a phone call from Sting, flew to England, and won the audition to become a member of his band. He remained with Sting for much of the 1990s, touring and recording the albums Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993), Mercury Falling (1996), Brand New Day (1999) and Sacred Love (2003). On November 12, 2016, he played with Sting in the first concert to be held at the Bataclan in Paris since the terrorist attack a year earlier.

In 1994, he released his debut solo album. He has won over fifteen Drummer of the Year awards from Modern Drummer magazine’s annual reader polls. These include ten awards in the “Best Overall” category.

Partial discography

As leader

Vinnie Colaiuta (Stretch, 1994)

With Jing Chi (featuring Robben Ford and Jimmy Haslip)

2002 Jing Chi
2003 Jing Chi Live at Yoshi’s (guest appearances by keyboard player Otmaro Ruiz and Marc Russo on alto sax).
2004 3D
2017 Supremo

As sideman

With Frank Zappa

Joe’s Garage (1979)
Tinseltown Rebellion (1981)
Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar (1981)
The Man From Utopia (1983)
Guitar (1988)
Any Way the Wind Blows (1991)
Strictly Commercial (1995)
You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 (1988)
You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 (1991)
You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 (1992)
The Lost Episodes (1996)
Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute (1996)
Have I Offended Someone? (1997)
Son of Cheep Thrills (1999)
Halloween (2003)
Trance-Fusion (2006)
Buffalo (2007)
Chicago ’78 (2016)

With Joni Mitchell

Wild Things Run Fast (1982)
Dog Eat Dog (1985)
Night Ride Home (1991)
Hits (1996)
Misses (1996)
Songs of a Prairie Girl (2005)

With Sting

Acoustic Live in Newcastle (1992)
Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993)
Mercury Falling (1996)
Brand New Day (1999)
Sacred Love (2003)
57th & 9th (2016)

With Tom Scott

1982 Desire
1988 Flashpoint
1987 Streamlines
1999 Smokin’ Section

With others

1981 Nightwalker, Gino Vannelli
1983 Dirty Looks, Juice Newton
1984 Emotion, Barbra Streisand
1985 Soul Kiss, Olivia Newton-John
1986 The Bridge, Billy Joel
1987 John Patitucci, John Patitucci
1987 Northern Nights, Dan Siegel
1987 Portrait, Lee Ritenour
1987 Swing Street, Barry Manilow
1988 Close-Up, David Sanborn
1988 Last Days of the Century, Al Stewart
1988 Talk to Your Daughter, Robben Ford
1988 The Real Me, Patti Austin
1988 Voices of the Heart, Eric Marienthal
1988 Y Kant Tori Read, Tori Amos
1989 Mr. Jordan, Julian Lennon
1989 Music, My Love Jean-Pierre Rampal
1989 Secrets, Allan Holdsworth
1989 The Warmer Side of Cool, Wang Chung
1989 Upright, Philip Aaberg
1990 Beth Nielsen Chapman
1990 Blue Pacific, Michael Franks
1990 The Works, Nik Kershaw
1991 For the Boys, Bette Midler
1992 Fat City, Shawn Colvin
1993 My World, Ray Charles
1994 Emperors of Soul, The Temptations
1994 Heart to Heart, Diane Schuur
1995 Good News from the Next World, Simple Minds
1995 I’ll Lead You Home, Michael W. Smith
1995 Soul Survivor, Bobby Caldwell
1995 The Promise, John McLaughlin
1997 Blue Moon Swamp, John Fogerty
1997 Blue Tav, Steve Tavaglione
1999 Deja Vu, Frank Vignola
2000 Celebrating the Music of Weather Report, Jason Miles
2000 Fingerprints, Larry Carlton
2000 Isn’t She Great, Burt Bacharach
2000 Live From Blue Note Tokyo, Chick Corea
2000 Two Against Nature, Steely Dan
2001 Night Sessions, Chris Botti
2001 Trouble in Shangri-La, Stevie Nicks
2002 From the Inside, Laura Pausini
2002 Cry, Faith Hill
2002 Morning, Noon, & Night, Bob James
2002 Queen of the Damned: Music from the Motion Picture
2003 1, 2, to the Bass, Stanley Clarke
2003 Big Fun, Bill Evans
2003 Michael Buble
2003 9, Eros Ramazzotti
2004 Earth + Sky, Andy Summers
2004 Renee Olstead
2004 The Futurist, Robert Downey
2004 Speak, Lindsay Lohan
2004 The System Has Failed, Megadeth
2005 American Made World Played, Les Paul
2007 Do svitanja, Vlado Georgiev
2008 Jeff Beck: Performing This Week… Live at Ronnie Scott’s, Jeff Beck
2009 My One and Only Thrill, Melody Gardot
2009 Tide, Luciana Souza
2010 …Featuring Norah Jones
2010 Emotion & Commotion, Jeff Beck
2010 Singularity, Robby Krieger
2010 Truth Be Told, Mark Egan
2011 Daydream, Katherine Jenkins
2011 Centrifugal Satz Clock, Morning, Steve Kusaba
2012 5th House, Dominic Miller
2013 Unstoppable Momentum, Joe Satriani
2013 Daljina, Vlado Georgiev
2014 Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro, Billy Childs
2015 No Pier Pressure, Brian Wilson[12]
2016 The American Dream, Damian Drăghici
2017 Alone, Toto

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