TRACY VIGNATI - The Vignatis
It takes something so right to realize something so wrong. The GAIA Clarinet Mouthpiece was my life-changing, "ah-ha" moment that is as effortless to play as eating a chocolate souffle'! Like a pet adoption, from the moment I tried it I knew it was coming home with me. The quality is unparalleled as is the creator. Once this goes in your cake hole you will be sold! Un grand merci, Theo :)
Singer/Songwriter/Clarinetist Tracy Vignati is everything that is right about that uniqueness of blending avant gardeness with pragmatism inside of artistry. She is first a force who has stayed true to her passions armed with the discipline and extra-adaptability of any U.S. Air Force "military brat." Through a wide variety of frequent moves and cultural exposure, Tracy has developed a resilient personality, exceptional social skills and a high level of multicultural awareness which can be heard through her musical mutations. From her college opera studies to her vocal jazz solo CD with the power trio of drummer Peter Erskine, bassist John Patitucci and pianist Alan Pasqua, to her most current co-creation of THE VIGNATIS and "Birth of the Gypsybilly" and "Birth of the Gypsybilly Vol. 2", she comes armed with the true gift of a highly skilled singer who revisits her nostalgic, nerdy, middle school band days by playing her prized possession, her neon-pink clarinet named Betty. She has learned well from many of her musical influences like Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Eddie Daniels, Miles Davis, Brian Setzer, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Lady Gaga, Pink, Sugarland and The Beatles, to name a few.
It starts with that star quality and sincerity combining looks, wit and edgy humor which she possesses in abundance. However, there is a great deal of substance underneath that Chris Farley-George Carlin-esque humor. "I love to make people laugh and cry with music" she says, "and I always try to write what comes naturally and quickly which is usually the best stuff. As long as it creates some kind of visual with emotion, I'm cool with it."
Tracy's dream began at the age of 5 in her kindergarten holiday assembly delivering a "pitch-perfect" performance of "Silent Night." Throughout her childhood, the stern, tough-love influence of her military father was focused primarily on her academics with strong hopes of a future Veterinarian or Stephen Hawking in the family. In resisting such fatherly pressure it made it all the more sweet hearing herself on the radio for the first time on KJazz 88.1 FM which was the beginning of world-wide airplay on jazz radio.
A straight shooter with a passion for life, Tracy has learned to balance her naturally disciplined nature with her free-spirited side which has given her much more internal liberation. "When my mind becomes occupied with day-to-day crap worrying about stuff that will probably never happen or anything else I allow to rent space in my head, there are two things that I can count on to keep me focused and lose track of time and space.....animals and music! Nothing is stronger than the power of focus."
THE VIGNATIS have two CDs under their belts which solidifies their "Gypsybilly" style of music they have created. As with the debut CD, they recorded with the same rhythm section of drummer Bernie Dresel and slap bassist John "Spazz" Hatton, both from the Brian Setzer Orchestra. "With this record we show the world that we didn't just get lucky with the first one. We've worked really hard to make this a better extension of the first one and write material that is uplifting, emotional, fun and a bit edgier than the first one. There are enough negative distractions in the world so we'd rather have this a positive, elevating distraction...(footnote)...which is available on iTunes and CD Baby. See ya there!
What is your experience when you feel connected into the music?
It's almost like the music becomes a living, breathing entity creating an out-of-body experience. This is a very personal experience not usually related to the audience. You can feel as though you've transcended time and space yet your audience.....crickets!
What is your experience of when you don't feel connected to your music?
When I am not feeling connected to the music and feel as though I'm just going through the motions, I focus on my audience which is what it's all about anyway. I try to create value under any circumstance. Audiences react when you care.
Where does your inspiration comes from? What does it feel like?
Most of my inspiration comes from my life experiences and musical mentors. I always have melodies and lyrics streaming through my head on a constant basis. It's hard to shut it off especially in a quiet environment. It even happens as I'm performing. Yikes! And I drive?
What is your experience while improvising? Does it relate to any spirituality you may practice in your life?
I play what I feel in the moment. I'm not the technically skilled player who knows every lick in every key and mode. I don't know if it relates to my spirituality or not. I just try to play as melodically as possible with the least amount of mishaps :) When in doubt, I use the ole chromatics until I find something, LOL! I try to solo at the same level as I scat. Still working on it :)
Where does your inspiration while composing come from? What is your experience of that inspiration like?
Most of my writing inspiration comes from life experiences. We all have ups, downs and sideways experiences. Depending on what I want to say or the topic I want to write about, I like to be in a quiet environment and let things unfold. There are times when I like the pressure of writing a song in an hour. Great things come out if we allow it.
Do you have any fun stories of inspirational moments to share?
There are so many. I'll tell a couple. Just recently I was at a gig in Hollywood in the middle of a solo that I was totally into when I suddenly got no sound out of my instrument. I was so dumbfounded and started to panic. I felt a strange feeling on my bottom lip. The reed fell off. I didn't tighten the ligature enough. What a "maroon!"
At the Blue Note in New York I was able to hang out with Stanley Turrentine with some guys from WBGO. He had a hole in his sweater that really bothered him. A staff member happened to have a Blue Note sewing kit so I sewed Stanley Turrentine's black sweater with the only thread that was in the kit...RED :)