Master guitarist comes to ECC
By Chris Peterson For Sun-Times Media March 14, 2013 11:26AM
♦ March 15 and 16
♦ Tickets, $22-$25
♦ (847) 622-0300
Updated: March 17, 2013 2:39PM
When The Wall Street Journal asked legendary guitarist Les Paul to name his top five most-admired guitar players, Paul named Frank Vignola to the list.
Audiences in Elgin can see for themselves why Vignola is deserving of such lofty praise when he performs two shows this weekend at the Elgin Community College Arts Center’s SecondSpace Theatre.
A native of Long Island, N.Y., Vignola started playing guitar at the age of six and collected a range of influences from the worlds of classical, rock, R&B, pop and jazz music.
After studying at the Cultural Arts Center of Long Island, Vignola started recording and performing in the 1980s with iconic musicians such as Leon Redbone, Ringo Starr and Madonna. Over the years, he has recorded numerous solo albums, written more than a dozen guitar instructional books and continues to record with artists such as Queen Latifah and Wynton Marsalis.
“Being in the studio with these musicians taught me to stay true to my style, play cleanly and inspired me to practice up a storm so I would always be well-prepared,” Vignola said. “It also taught me how important it is to be diverse and the essentiality of reading music. You have to be a good sight-reader of music to be in the studios with just about anybody.”
Vignola says his Elgin appearances will be keeping in line with his eclectic career and influences, ranging the gamut from high art to pop music. “I play famous melodies from Beethoven and Mozart to Hoagy Carmichael and the Beatles, with influences taken from everyone from Les Paul and Django (Reinhart) to Frank Zappa,” he said.
As in his new album, Vignola said audiences can expect his live show to put a new spin on some old favorites from multiple genres of music. “Our new CD is called ‘Melody Magic,’ and we tried to create new, unique-sounding arrangements on famous melodies such as Beethoven’s 5th and ‘Eye of the Tiger’ — timeless classics that we all know no matter what the age.”
Although Vignola is known as one of the most technically proficient guitarists of his time, he promises the show will be anything but dry. “We have a lot of fun with audiences,” he said. “We play songs they know, tell a few jokes, have sing-alongs and even butcher a few dance steps. The rapport with the audience is what I enjoy and what fuels me.”