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Frank Vignola: Blues for a Gypsy

David Adler By

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With this CD, Frank Vignola turns in an exquisite set of solo acoustic guitar music. It’s intended as an oblique tribute to Django Reinhardt, sort of picking up where Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine left off. Vignola, however, plays only two Reinhardt compositions, "Tears" and "Manoir De Mes Reves." And he starts off with something most unusual: a rubato treatment of Charlie Parker’s "Donna Lee" that ultimately winds up to an old-fashioned swing tempo (perhaps the first solo version of the tune since Jaco’s?). Vignola brings a similar inventiveness to the other standards of the set, which include "Angel Eyes," "Laura," a ferocious "Limehouse Blues," and more. He also weighs in with six originals, encompassing off-the-cuff blues (the title track), classically inspired improv ("Gypsy Bach"), finely crafted ballads ("Fishing with Django," "Gypsy Dreams"), and tongue-in-cheek, under-one-minute sketches ("By the Fire," "Train Ride"). Although he plays a Maccaferri acoustic (big body, little soundhole) and occasionally indulges the signature Reinhardt vibrato, Vignola comes across as an original, applying his modern imagination to a vintage guitar style. It’s heavenly. (Keep the disc playing at the end to a hear a hidden alternate take of "Tears.")

Track Listing: 1. Donna Lee 2. Blues for a Gypsy 3. Tears 4. Cryin

Personnel: Frank Vignola, acoustic guitar

Title: Blues for a Gypsy | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Acoustic Disc

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