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Off Broadway

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Album Review

This album might be subtitled "Frank Vignola Plays the Music of Joe Ascione," as six of the tunes were penned by the talented drummer. Others in the group who collect royalties by having their compositions performed on this album are Randy Sandke and John Goldsby, as well as Vignola. There are also some standards on the 15-tune play list. This is the guitarist's first effort for the very active German company, Nagel-Heyer, coming over from Concord Jazz where he recorded several albums as a leader, including a flirtation with smooth jazz. Vignola is known for his close study of the styles of Django Reinhardt and Joe Pass. Judging from his playing, he has also absorbed the techniques of other guitar masters, especially Mundell Lowe. Over his relatively short career (he was just 35 when this CD was cut), he has taken a turn at a variety of musical styles, working with ragtime pianist Max Morath and performing in jazz clubs and on recordings and live gigs with everyone from rockers Leon Redbone and Ringo Starr to jazzers Les Paul and Milt Hinton. He is also a noted jazz instructor, having authored his own set of instructional materials. With his well-honed technique and feel for the music, the presence of distinguished jazz performers, and an arresting play list, this initial effort for Nagel-Heyer portends a solid association, which should go long into the future. Whoever decided to include veteran Frank Wess on some tracks deserves a good deal of credit for the success of this album. The Count Basie veteran tenor man has laid-back but commanding solos on such cuts as "It's All Right With Me" and Horace Silver's "Cookin' at the Continental," where he and another jazz veteran, Sir Roland Hanna, assume control of the track, making it an album highlight. The second version of "It's All Right With Me" is a regular ten-minute session as Vignola and Wess, together and individually, add their artistic imprimatur to this chestnut, with Ascione's revved-up drums not letting anyone off the hook. This album is a generous 79-plus minutes of solid jazz and is recommended.


Born: 30 December 1965 in West Islip, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s

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...
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Off Broadway, Frank Vignola
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