Vignolafrank_playsgershwin_span3
July/August 2007

Frank Vignola
Vignola Plays Gershwin
Mel Bay Records

Frank Vignola brings his considerable chops to bear on a set of Gershwin classics, accompanied by spirited brushmeister Joe Ascione (his drumming partner in the Frank & Joe Show), bassist Tom Kennedy and rhythm guitarist Corey Christiansen. A fluid player with great rhythmic drive, Vignola’s cleanly picked lines, swinging forward momentum, audacious filigrees and fretboard pyrotechnics are clearly coming out of the Django Reinhardt school. He shows remarkable command and a fertile imagination on bouncy, effervescent fare like “I Got Rhythm,” “S’Wonderful,” “Strike Up the Band” and “Fascinating Rhythm,” along with particularly Django-esque renditions of “Lady Be Good” and “Summertime.”

For a change of pace, the group turns in a playful cha-cha arrangement of “Somebody Loves Me” and a samba-fied “But Not For Me,” both underscored by Ascione playing with hands on the kit instead of sticks or brushes. Vignola displays soulful restraint and deep feeling on ballads “The Man I Love,” bookended by the masterful solo guitar choruses, “Our Love Is Here To Stay” and “Embraceable You.” Good vibes and dazzling six-string work permeate this enjoyable session.

Originally published in July/August 2007
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