Frank Vignola is a world-renowned jazz guitarist with a 40-year touring history. Frank's career has included performances and/or recordings with a broad spectrum of artists including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Les Paul, and Tommy Emmanuel. He is a sought after instructor for guitar camps around the globe, and offers a series of his own online classes in addition to offering hard copy instructional DVDs. Frank can be seen on two PBS specials; his own "Four Generations of Guitar" with Bucky Pizzarelli, and also on "Tommy Emmanuel & Friends".
Jimmy Bruno is a master jazz guitarist and jazz educator. One of the most celebrated jazz guitarists performing today, Jimmy Bruno came to prominence as a jazz musician in the 1990's, after a successful twenty-year career as a sought-after commercial guitarist and session musician. After a whirlwind round-the-world tour as the youngest member of the Buddy Rich Orchestra, he went on to play guitar in orchestras for Frank Sinatra, Doc Severinsen, Lena Horne, and many more music icons. Additionally, he spent many years as an LA session musician working with Tommy Tedesco. By the time he was in his mid-thirties he was ready to come out of the background and into the spotlight. Jimmy moved back East and landed a deal with Concord Records, going on to record 13 critically-acclaimed CDs and perform in highly-regarded jazz festivals around the globe.
Gary Mazzaroppi has been providing brilliant bass lines to scores of performers since graduating Berklee College of Music; after which he toured extensively with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. Since then, Gary has accompanied top jazz artists including Mark O’Connor, Tal Farlow, Stan Getz, Buddy Rich, Les Paul, and more. Television broadcasts include, “Les Paul – He Changed the Music”, and the PBS special “The History of Rock and Roll”. In addition, Gary teaches at Brookdale Community College and at Rutgers.
Vinny Raniolo has been Frank Vignola's touring partner for 14 years. Vinny is in high in demand as a rhythm player, and a wonderful lead in his own write. He has played on a movie soundtrack for Woody Allen, and for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Vinny has collaborated on educational products with both Vignola and Stephan Grossman's Guitar Workshop. He has been featured on both Vignola's, and Tommy Emmanuel's latest recording releases, in addition to his own solo release, "Air Guitar."
Ken F. Smith was born in Florida, USA and grew up in New Jersey and Abu Dhabi. Ken’s musical education includes a B.M. in Performance from Arizona State University. While living in Arizona, Ken worked as a soloist and ensemble member, playing everything from solo classical guitar to theater productions. Ken also began teaching the guitar at this time, creating a unique approach to applying the language of jazz to the fretboard. Since moving to New York City in 1997, Ken has performed and toured in the US, Asia and Europe, as a side man and leader. Ken is currently developing a suite of educational products that document his unique approach to teaching jazz guitar.
Frank Sole began playing guitar at just 8-years-old after listening to a family member's Chet Atkins record. He is an experienced performer and has been a dedicated teacher for the past 46 years. Frank has a B.A. from Rutgers in Classical Guitar and a K-12 teaching certification. He plays jazz, rock, and classical guitar, and is always striving to improve and learn something new. Frank's two main jazz teachers were saxophonist Fred Amend, of Cranford, NJ and guitarist Jeff Ciampa of Warwick, NY.
Ryan Thorell is a master luthier and owner of Thorell Fine Guitars in West Logan, Utah. He built the guitar that Frank Vignola plays most and has also helped to develop a signature F.V. model guitar for Eastman. Ryan will be joining us with his partner Joanne for help regarding how to keep your guitar in the best of shape and they will also offer some light set-ups and suggestions for your guitar as time allows.