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"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.
Vignolawith twelve CDs as a leader under his beltis 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 Joe Ascione on drums, bassist Tom Kennedy and guitarist Corey Christiansen, who supplies the crisp rhythms behind Vignola. The tunes are all the familiar classics: "I Got Rhythm," "Summertime," "S'Wonderful," "Our Love is Here to Stay," "Fascinating Rhythm, "How Long Has This Been Going On," and more. The band swings hard. It's a reverent, loving elevation of one of America's master songwriters. The group attacks "I Got Rhythm" with a joyous fever; they relax into a smooth flow on "Nice Work If You Can Get It," and put a zippy sting into "Fascinating Rhythm."
I'm struck by Vignola's technical virtuosity. It sounds as if he's incapable of hitting even a slightly wrong sound; and it's a warm, breathing virtuosity that feels spontaneous and fresha comfortable and supremely confident-in-his-artistic-skin player.
If America has ever turned out a finer melodist than George Gershwin, I haven't heard him. Frank Vignola and his band play the man's music with a beautiful zest.
Track Listing: I Got Rhythm; Summertime; S' Wonderful; Our Love Is Here To Stay; They Can't Take That Away From Me; The
Man I Love; Somebody Loves Me; Strike Up The Band; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Fascinating Rhythm;
Embraceable You; Lady Be Good; How Long Has This Been Going On.
Personnel: Frank Vignola: guitar; Joe Ascione: drums; Tom Kennedy: bass; Corey Christiansen: guitar.
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me. Try as I might, I was never able to achieve a high enough level of competency to perform at the level I was first and subsequently exposed to. Regardless, I was hooked on jazz and remain so to this day.