Frank Vignola was born December 30, 1965 in Long Island, New York where his father played accordion and banjo and his brother plays trumpet. When he was five, he picked up the guitar, learning from his father and from records by Django Reinhardt, Bucky Pizzarelli, Joe Pass, and Johnny Smith. At 12 he started on the banjo, and two years later he won a national championship in Canada.
He studied guitar at the Cultural Arts Center and early in his career, he went to used record stores to buy albums by musicians whose work he didn’t know, so that he could study their music. 1987, when he was 23, saw Frank forming the Hot Club quintet, named after the Quintette du Hot Club de France. In the early 1990s, a move to New York City he was playing in groups with Max Morath, Andy Stein, Herman Foster, Joe Ascione, and tuba player Sam Pilafian.
Vignola formed the Concord Jazz Collective with veteran guitarists Howard Alden and Jimmy Bruno and has worked with includes Leon Redbone, Ken Peplowski, Susannah McCorkle, Charlie Byrd, Joey DeFrancesco, Gene Bertoncini, Johnny Frigo, Bucky Pizzarelli, Wynton Marsalis, David Grisman, Jane Monheit, Mark O’Connor, and Donald Fagen.
He has recorded two dozen albums as a leader, recorded another 50+ as a sideman, has written over fifteen instructional books for Mel Bay, produced several instructional DVDs, and teaches courses over the internet. Sadly, in May 2017, guitarist Frank Vignola was in a serious ATV accident where he was thrown into a tree, sustaining numerous injuries. In November of 2017, friend and fellow guitarist Tommy Emmanuel posted an update on Vignola’s status, stating that he would be unable to play the guitar and may only recover after many surgeries and a long period of physical therapy.
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