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Frank Vignola

An extremely versatile jazz guitarist, Frank Vignola has demonstrated that he is capable of playing everything from fusion and commercial pop-jazz to hard bop, post-bop, and swing. The native New Yorker has a wide variety of influences; everyone from Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, and Pat Metheny to Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian has affected his playing in some way. For Vignola, different influences have asserted themselves at different times — the Reinhardt or Christian influence might be especially prominent in a swing environment, whereas he has sometimes sounded more Metheny-ish in fusion or pop-jazz/NAC settings. And he might be mindful of Montgomery or Pass on a hard bop or post-bop project. Born on suburban Long Island on December 30, 1965, Vignola was raised in the New York area. The Italian-American started playing the guitar at the age of five and grew up admiring a variety of guitarists. Far from a jazz snob, Vignola never listened to jazz exclusively and was also a major fan of rock, RB, and pop. The guitarists that he admired ranged from jazz musicians to rock icons like Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen. As a young adult, Vignola studied at the Cultural Arts Center of Long Island and went on to enjoy a lot of sideman gigs in the 1980s. The New Yorker was 27 when, in 1993, he signed with Concord Jazz and recorded his first Concord session as a leader, Appel Direct. Several more Concord releases followed in the 1990s, and the early 2000s found Vignola recording for Nagel-Heyer as well as Acoustic Disc.

Currently Frank has been extremely busy with a variety of projects including MaMaVig, a trio featuring mandolin virtuoso Jamie Masefield of The Jazz Mandolin Project, Gary Mazzaroppi the formidable bass player, and Frank. They play a unique blend of gypsy grass in the style of Django Reinhardt and take it to a whole other level. The name MaMaVig is a merging of their last names.

Frank has also been investing some time into Frank Vignola's Gypsy Grass Collective featuring a rotating roster of supreme players featuring some of the acoustic music scene's hottest young players. Melding contemporary gypsy jazz, bluegrass, toe-tapping swing and front porch picking into a uniquely eclectic, upbeat sound of their own, Gypsy Grass is sure to amaze fans of the various styles and genres it employs. At times sublime, controlled and elegant, these innovators can instantly change gears to wildly imaginative improvisation and nasty, hot picking. Think Django Reinhardt meets Jerry Reed with some flashes of Bach and Miles Davis…

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Album Review

Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo: Swing Zing!

Read "Swing Zing!" reviewed by Jack Bowers


When a press release accompanying a new album conveys more information than is found on the album itself, the supposition must be that it was recorded hurriedly with an eye toward a similarly expeditious release. Swing Zing! pairs the estimable guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, who've been working together for more than five years, with half a dozen guests who are identified on the album (and in the press release) by name but not by instrument. Three of them--Bucky ...

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Shrinktunes

Playing it Forward: The Boys at the Blue Note

Read "Playing it Forward: The Boys at the Blue Note" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger


It seemed to happen overnight. One minute it was all video games, with the boys totally immersed in furious thumbwork. They'd sit together for hours on end, staring at a busy screen, manipulating cartoon adversaries to kill each other in great bursts of color and noise. There was considerable musical talent among them, and assorted lessons here and there, but no burning interest that any adult could detect. Then suddenly the group shifted, like a flock of birds ...

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Live Review

Mariachi Flor de Toloache at Celebrate Brooklyn

Read "Mariachi Flor de Toloache at Celebrate Brooklyn" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes


Mariachi Flor de Toloache, Mexican Institute of SoundLatin Alternative Music Conference at Celebrate BrooklynJuly 12, 2013 Brooklyn, NYThough a constant, heavy rain dampened the spirits of many music fans who skipped Latin Alternative Music Conference's showcase at Celebrate Brooklyn, those who were present at the half-filled venue witnessed quite a varied evening which began with a presentation of the New York-based, all-female Mariachi Flor de Toloache.The nine-piece ensemble began by following tradition, playing down-tempo ...

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Album Review

Frank Vignola: 100 Years Of Django

Read "100 Years Of Django" reviewed by Martin Longley


In this centenary year of Django Reinhardt's birth, it's inevitable that homages will be uppermost in the minds of the guitarist's disciples. Frank Vignola has no desire to resist this temptation, given that so much of his very fiber is directly descended from the Reinhardt legacy. But aside from the unavoidable “Nuages," Vignola sidesteps down a less over-trodden path. A core trio of Vignola, rhythm guitarist Vinny Raniolo and bassman Gary Mazzaroppi, is augmented by guest accordionist ...

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Album Review

Frank Vignola: 100 Years of Django

Read "100 Years of Django" reviewed by J Hunter


Of all the things guitarist Django Reinhardt accomplished in his 43 years on earth, two stand out: He proved you don't have to have a big band in order to swing, and you don't have to play soft and slow in order to be intimate. Reinhardt's Le Hot Club Quintet of France (formed with violinist Stéphane Grappelli, who David Grisman has called “the master of String Swing") embodied those two proofs, fueled by Reinhardt's evocative playing and prolific writing. 2010 ...

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Album Review

Frank Vignola: Vignola Plays Gershwin

Read "Vignola Plays Gershwin" reviewed by Andrew Velez


With the Brothers Gershwin we're talking about the very summit of the Great American Songbook, words and music that have for the most part passed into the language. They are true evergreens that retain their capacity to swing, and provide fertile opportunities for a musician as varied in range as guitarist Frank Vignola. The only surprising thing about this album may be why Vignola didn't make it sooner. With a versatility on his part that ranges from swing to bop ...

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Album Review

Frank Vignola: Vignola Plays Gershwin

Read "Vignola Plays Gershwin" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


"I like a Gershwin tune," Frank Sinatra sings on the Burton Reed/Ralph Freed classic, “How About You." Guitarist Frank Vignola apparently loves a Gershwin tune, passionately.Vignola--with twelve CDs as a leader under his belt--is a versatile musician who sites an array of influences: Django Reinhardt, Joe Pass, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Christian. On Vignola Plays Gershwin he leans in a swinging gypsy direction, bringing a Django vibe to fourteen George Gershwin melodies.The guitarist's quartet includes ...

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Festival

Randy Brecker, Frank Vignola, Greg Hopkins To Headline Pittsfield Cityjazz Festival, Oct. 9-18

Randy Brecker, Frank Vignola, Greg Hopkins To Headline Pittsfield Cityjazz Festival, Oct. 9-18

Source: Edward Bride

Berkshires Jazz, which organizes and presents festivals, concerts, and other jazz events in Berkshire County, has announced the lineup for the 11th annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival. A signature event of the fall foliage season in western New England, the festival runs Oct. 9-18, 2015. The wide-ranging lineup includes the first pairing of 6-time Grammy winner Randy Brecker with the Greg Hopkins Jazz Orchestra; a return engagement by guitar virtuoso Frank Vignola; the annual “jazz crawl;” a new discovery in the ...

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Video / DVD

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Trip to "Swing Xing" with Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Trip to "Swing Xing" with Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

If you enjoy jazz guitar played in a traditional style, today's post might be right up your alley, as we feature not one, not two, but three guitarists - Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo - who will be performing together in a show called “Swing Xing: Three Generations of Jazz Guitar" next Saturday, November 15 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Pizzarelli, who will turn 89 in January, is of course one of the elder statesmen on his instrument, ...

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Performance / Tour

Jazz This Week: Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, Madeleine Peyroux, Eastern Blok, Marcus Lewis, Miles Davis Jazz Festival, and More

Jazz This Week: Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, Madeleine Peyroux, Eastern Blok, Marcus Lewis, Miles Davis Jazz Festival, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

The week's schedule of jazz and creative music in St. Louis offers a wide variety of sounds and sights, including Balkan-tinged guitar, funk trombone, fusion harp, saxophone-playing twins, a festival featuring St. Louis musicians paying tribute to our area's most famous jazz icon, and much more. Let's go to the highlights... Tonight, guitarist Goran Ivanovic and his band Eastern Blok are coming down from Chicago to play a show at Pop's Blue Moon celebrating the release of their new CD ...

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Video / DVD

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

Today, let's sample a half-dozen video clips featuring the guitar duo of Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, who will be in St. Louis next week to perform Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 at Jazz at the Bistro. Vignola also will be presenting a guitar workshop on Saturday afternoon at City Music and Education Center. Both have played here before, most recently with Vignola's quintet in 2009 at the Bistro. Vignola also ...

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Education

Frank Vignola to Present Guitar Workshop Saturday, May 19 at City Music

Frank Vignola to Present Guitar Workshop Saturday, May 19 at City Music

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

Guitarist Frank Vignola will present a workshop at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, May 19 at City Music and Education Center, 9299 Watson Rd. in Crestwood. Vignola (pictured) will be in St. Louis that week to perform Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 at Jazz at the Bistro. According to the news release from City Music, the first hour will feature exercises and fingerboard study, while the second hour will include improvisation techniques and tips on “how to spice up your ...

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Recording

Review of Frank Vignola's "Gypsy Jazz" Trio " Live" at the Rowayton United Methodist Church, Rowayton, CT August 15, 2010

Review of Frank Vignola's "Gypsy Jazz" Trio " Live" at the Rowayton United Methodist Church, Rowayton, CT August 15, 2010

Source: Notes on Jazz by Ralph A. Miriello

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon and the bandstand at Pickney Park was covered in tarps. This was supposed to be the site of the Rowayton Civic Association's free Music in the park series, featuring master guitarist Frank Vignola and his trio, in a what was billed as an evening of gypsy jazz. The rain frightened off what should have been a nice crowd as it was unclear to many if the concert would go on. As it turns out ...

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Performance / Tour

Frank Vignola's Hot Club Celebrating 100 Years of Django Reinhardt Saturday February 20th 7:30PM at the Union Coffee House

Frank Vignola's Hot Club Celebrating 100 Years of Django Reinhardt Saturday February 20th 7:30PM at the Union Coffee House

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

Frank Vignola's Hot Club with Gary Mazzaroppi (bass) and Vinny Raniolo (guitar). Celebrating 100 Years of Django Reinhardt Saturday February 20, 2010 7:30pm One Night Only! At The Union Coffee House 27 School St Carlisle, MA 01741 978-287-5745 “Guitar virtuosity at its highest level." --DjangoBlog Long Island-born Frank Vignola breaks down the barriers between popular music and traditional jazz to create a unique acoustic string music experience. His ...

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Recording

Guitarist Frank Vignola Salutes Django Reinhardt with New CD

Guitarist Frank Vignola Salutes Django Reinhardt with New CD

Source: Michael Ricci

100 Years of Django (Azica Records 72244) January 26, 2010 Release The Frank Vignola Trio: Frank Vignola, guitar Vinny Raniolo, guitar Gary Mazzaroppi, double bass Special Guest: Julien Labro, accordion “Django Reinhardt was one of the most influential guitarists of the last 100 years and was a prolific composer of almost 100 brilliant songs in his 20 years of recording. I chose 10 of my favorites spanning his brief life here on earth. I hope you ...

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Festival

Jazz This Week: Frank Vignola, David Fiuczynski, the Miles Davis Jazz Festival, Mae Wheeler's 75th Birthday Gala, and More

Jazz This Week: Frank Vignola, David Fiuczynski, the Miles Davis Jazz Festival, Mae Wheeler's 75th Birthday Gala, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This weekend's menu of jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes a couple of first-rate guitar players with very different styles, and birthday tributes to a couple of St. Louis' most beloved jazz performers.Let's start with guitarist Frank Vignola, who's playing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Vignola draws on influences ranging from swing and the Gypsy jazz sound of Django Reinhardt to bluegrass, and somehow manages to make it all work together. For some video ...

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Video / DVD

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: The Return of Frank Vignola

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: The Return of Frank Vignola

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

Today, let's check out some video clips featuring guitarist Frank Vignola, who's returning to St. Louis next week to perform from Wednesday, May 13 through Saturday, May 16 at Jazz at the Bistro.The versatile Vignola was last seen here in March 2008, performing at the Sheldon Concert Hall and recording a DVD for release by the St. Louis-based Mel Bay Records. Before that, Vignola also played the Bistro in the ...

Walt Pitts
guitar and vocals
Graham Griffith
guitar, steel

Photos

Concerts

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Swing Zing!

Fv Records
2015

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100 Years of Django

Azica Records
2010

buy

Standards

Original Jazz Classics
2009

buy

Vignola Plays Gershwin

Mel Bay Records
2007

buy

Vignola Plays Gershwin

Original Jazz Classics
2006

buy

66 2/3

Hyena Records
2005

buy

Videos

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