Nav bar

Friday, May 31, 2002; Page WE07

GypsySoul Independent GypsySoul, a new jazz trio composed of guitarist Frank Vignola, vibraphonist Chuck Redd and bassist Joe Byrd, sometimes sounds as if it's been around since the '30s. That's good news indeed for anyone who treasures the recordings of guitarists Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian in particular, or vintage, cozy and uncluttered jazz in general.

While Vignola's status as a Djangophile is well documented, more evidence is always welcome. In saluting Reinhardt, the legendary Gypsy guitarist, Vignola consistently displays an evocative touch, whether elegantly reprising the Django-penned "Nuages" or introducing "Getting Sentimental Over You" with a soulful cadenza. Even more striking, though, is "Gypsy Dreams," which comes across as a stellar six-string tour de force right down to the last shimmering note.

By contrast, Vignola's Christian-inspired performance of "Undecided" swings with an unencumbered joy that's amplified by Redd's buoyant improvisation and Byrd's humming bass solo.

All three musicians share the spotlight. Byrd, in fact, is largely responsible for the trio's novel and charming rendition of "I Thought About You." But the combination of acoustic guitar and vibes is primarily what gives the trio's sound its character, color and vitality. It helps, of course, that Vignola and Redd are wonderfully adept at switching between lead and accompaniment, or creating neatly woven lines together, as anyone who listens to "Honeysuckle Rose" will soon discover. And certainly fans of guitarist Charlie Byrd, the bassist's late brother, will find plenty of enjoyment listening to this ensemble revisit the kind of music that so often inspired him

. -- Mike Joyce