Yesterday, I spent the evening freely sharing my time at a rehearsal for the Anne Arundel Community College Symphony Orchestra, with guest soloists Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo. The Orchestra was put through its paces under the able guidance of Dr. Anna Binneweg, who has distinguished herself in the areas of symphonic and operatic conducting early in her career. She is the Music Director/Conductor of the Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) Symphony Orchestra (Arnold, MD) where she also serves as Associate Professor of Music, and is the Music Director/Conductor of the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra (Annapolis, MD). Like all accomplished conductors,the beautiful & talented Dr. Binneweg communicates with her Orchestra in a variety of ways, both subtle and dramatic as well as entertaining. Here is a brief photo essay of an evening with the leader of the Anne Arundel Community College Symphony Orchestra. Tomorrow night’s concert should be a smash!
It was an afternoon and evening of beautiful and eclectic music at Anne Arundel Community College as the music department played host to the gifted young guitarist Julian Lage for an free clinic followed by a solo concert.”Hailed by All About Jazz as “a giant in the making”, Lage grew up in California and was the subject of an Academy Award nominated documentary, Jules at Eight. He gained pivotal early exposure as a protege of legendary vibraphonist Gary Burton, recording and touring with Burton on two projects: Generations (2004) and Next Generation (2005). Lage reunited with Burton for live engagements beginning in 2010, and can be heard this year as a member of the “New Gary Burton Quartet” on the forthcoming CD Common Ground, also featuring Scott Colley and Antonio Sanchez.”
Julian left his custom built Linda Manzer guitar behind for this visit, instead relying on a Bill Nash telecaster and a 1930s vintage Martin flat top, running the tele through a Electro Harmonix MemoryMan pedal for some truly otherworldly looping effects. If the capacity audience expected a concert of straight-ahead jazz, they were astounded and delighted as Julian alternated instruments and styles, easily navigating between achingly beautiful renditions of American traditional folk tunes and flights of cosmic wonderment and angular pyschedelic bursts from his battered telecaster. As always, AACC has provided the community with the opportunity to see and hear yet another talented musician in an intimate and comfortable venue. We can all look forward to the return of Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo on May 10th.
There is a beautiful musical tradition that originates in the land of Brazil known as Choro or Chorinho that translates roughly to “little cry” or “little lament”. There were indeed cries on Friday night at the music hall on the campus of Anne Arundel Community College, but they were cries of joy and bliss, as guitarists Richard Miller and Jason Ennis present a delightful program of Choro inspired guitar duets as part of the College’s ongoing jazz guitar series. Both musicians are no strangers to the concert stage, Miller having performed the world over with singers such as Lilo Gonzalez and Alaor Macedo and played in venues from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to a solo recital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. New York based guitarist Jason Ennis is a protoge of famed jazz guitarist, Gene Bertoncini, and has performed or recorded with the likes of Tessa Souter, Charles Neville and Joe Morton, to name just a few. These 7 string guitar masters were also joined onstage by Soprano Tammy Tucker , helping to cap off an evening of truly sublime music. Be sure to check out their gorgeous sounds and explore to beauty of Chorinho music. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Guitarist Richard Miller
Guitarist Jason Ennis
Soprano Tammy Tucker
What is that incessant pounding in my head? Have I been mysteriously transported to a 1930s adventure movie where the jungle drums beat on and on, forcing my feet to tap out a never ending rhythm, till the soles of my shoes, tattered and torn, scatter to the dancing winds?
Gosh, no! I’m once again at Anne Arundel Community College, taking photos to help promote another musical opportunity presented by Ian Wardenski and Marty Knepp and friends to help bring the magical world of percussion to a wider educational audience. Despite a beautiful day beckoning, a youthful and engaged crowd turned out to the Maryland campus of Anne Arundel Community College to hear talks and see presentations by clinicians such as Mike Ranelli, Jeff Weir, Kevin Meyer and the AACC’s own Marty Knepp. The afternoon brought a lively panel discussion of other instrumentalists on the intricacies of working with drummers and percussionists, including Dr. Mark Cook, Mike Kamuf, Jason Gano and Ian Wardenski, followed by a performance and Q&A by young drummer Greg Clark, Jr. The conference was capped off by a rousing concert by the Mike Kamuf Little Big Band. All in all a fun and enlightening day in a world filled with cymbals, triangles, gongs, drums and sticks, mallets and brushes in all shapes and sizes. As a wise man once said, “I don’t want to work, just want to bang on the drum all day!”
A whole lot of banging going on! All of it joyous!…and with a groove!
The Mike Kamuf Little Big Band
No one can accuse guitarist Frank Vignola of standing still, either physically or musically. As he aptly demonstrated on Friday at both a student clinic and concert at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, Vignola is a dervish- a human whirlwind whose creative mind and flying fingers sometimes have trouble keeping up with the laws of physics.
A native New Yorker, Frank brought his distinctive wit and charm to bear at an afternoon clinic sponsored by the school to a packed house, including the talented young members of the AACC Small Jazz Combo, who wrapped up the class with their rendition of “Limehouse Blues”.
Vignola shared the floor with the equally fiery playing of longtime musical partner Vinny Raniolo as well as relative newcomer Glenn Tosto, the three musicians demonstrating to the audience of enthralled students what a musical conversation sounded like in the hands of three masters.
The clinic was followed by a packed-house public concert in the college’s Humanities Theater. Demonstrating the technical skill and blistering speed for which he is rightly noted, Vignola ripped up the fretboard on signature set-pieces “Tico Tico” and “Flight of the Bumblebee”, but kept things joyful and light with tunes like “My Blue Heaven”, “How High the Moon” and a sing along to the Roberta Flack hit “Killing Me Softly”. Frank, Vinny and Glenn’s performance reminded the audience that every memorable musician is not just a virtuoso, but an entertainer as well, peppering their show with lively stage banter, choreography and intimate audience interaction as well. If you left this concert without a smile on your face, well, you were just born a grump!
Frank also included a brief musical tribute to old friend and local Annapolis resident, the humble and beloved bassist Joe Byrd, who was sadly killed in a car crash earlier in the week. The bossa medley was a fitting tribute to a musician who, with his brother Charlie Byrd, helped introduce America to a wonderful music style in the early 1960s.
Yes, Frank Vignola is a perpetual motion machine! 200+ days on the road every year, and showing no signs of slowing down. He’ll be back in the D.C. area at the fabled Blues Alley jazz club for shows on Wed., March 14 with Vinny and Glenn, then off to yet another show, reaching out to yet another hall of smiling and amazed eyes and ears. And, lest we don’t get enough of his talent this time around, we can always take comfort in the knowledge that Frank, and many of his musical friends, will be coming to a PBS station for a television special in the near future. So sit back, open up your ears, and prepare to be amazed!
Lindsay Hammon (sax) Jason Barteck (guitar) Michael Busch (guitar) Matt Henry (bass) Scott Taber (drums) With Special Thanks to Ian Wardenski for making the evening so memorable and pleasant!
FRANK VIGNOLA VINNY RANIOLO GLENN TOSTO