(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Guitar virtuoso Frank Vignola and his band, the Hot Club Trio, will give a concert at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Friday August 19, at 8, that melds gypsy jazz, bluegrass, swing, and front-porch picking into an eclectic, upbeat sound all their own. Vignola is noted for his eclecticism and virtuosity; he has toured and recorded with everyone from Madonna, Elton John, and Ringo Starr to Lionel Hampton, Donald Fagen, Queen Latifah, David Grisman, and Bucky Pizzarelli (with whom he performed at the Mahaiwe last August). Vignola and his trio deliver white-hot versions of American standards, gypsy jazz jams, and even jazzified covers of Mozart and Black Sabbath.
To give a sense of Vignola’s eclecticism, in 2004, he released a CD called 33 1/3 (Hyena), recorded with percussionist Joe Ascione, and featuring music ranging from Mozart to Rimsky-Korsakov to Cole Porter to the Doobie Brothers, from Gypsy swing to samba to bluegrass, all tied together by the musicians’ infectious, swinging grooves and virtuosic acoustic stylings. The CD also included guest vocals by Dr. John, Jane Monheit and Manhattan Transfer’s Janis Siegel. He has also made albums of Gershwin, blues, Broadway, standards, and the music of Gypsy jazz icon Django Reinhardt.
Vignola will also teach a guitar master class open to any interested musician in the community from 3 to 5 on the day of the performance. Tickets to the evening concert are $27 to $32. Ticketholders to the evening show can watch the afternoon master class for free; tuition to participate in the class is $20.
Born on suburban Long Island on December 30, 1965, Frank Vignola was raised in the New York area. The Italian-American started playing the guitar at the age of six 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 classical, rock, R&B, and pop. The guitarists that he admires range from Django and Les Paul to rock icons like Frank Zappa and Eddie Van Halen.
As a young adult, Vignola studied at the Cultural Arts Center of Long Island and went on to enjoy an enormous amount of sideman gigs in the 1980s including recording and touring with the likes of Madonna, Leon Redbone, Ringo Starr as well as coming into his own as a leader in 1988 with his famed Hot Club of France tribute, which was hailed in the New York Times as one of the top ten acts in New York City in 1988 and forged the way for the many Django Hot Club groups that followed.
Vignola was 27 when, in 1993, he signed with Concord Jazz and recorded his first Concord session as a leader, Appel Direct. Many more Concord releases followed in the 1990s as well as 3 releases for the Telarc label as co-leader of the group Travelin’ Light.
The early 2000s found Vignola recording a solo guitar CD for Acoustic Disc as well as performing regularly with guitarist, Les Paul. This also marked the time that Frank began working with record producer Joel Dorn as well as making featured appearances on Atlantic, Sony and Warner Brothers Records with the likes of Donald Fagen, Queen Latifah, Mark O Connor and Wynton Marsalis.
Vignola also recorded a collection of Gershwin pieces for Mel Bay Records titled, Vignola Plays Gershwin, which was number 2 in NPR radio airplay charts. In recent years, Vignola has recorded two important collaborative CDs, Just Between Frets with Tommy Emmanuel on Solid Air Records and Frank-N-Dawg, Melody Monsters with mandolinist David Grisman on Acoustic Disc Records.
Frank has written 18 guitar instruction books for Mel Bay Publications and has recorded 6 Educational DVDs for Truefire.com. He has performed hundreds of clinics and master classes at major universities and colleges throughout the world including Julliard and Boston University.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
14 Castle Street
Great Barrington, Mass.