Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Gambale, Frank, guitarist; b. Canberra, Australia, 22 December 1958. Frank began playing guitar at age 7 in Canberra, Australia where he was born and raised. He was influenced by the blues playing of Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall / Eric Clapton, and Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia . In his mid-teens he discovered Steely Dan, The Brecker Brothers and Chick Corea, which pointed him in a jazzy direction. In 1982 at 23 he decided to leave his home to study at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood. He graduated with the highest honor, Student of the Year and was offered a teaching position which he kept for 4 years. During this time he was playing the local jazz club circuit with his own band. In 1986 he signed a 3 album contract with a small label called Legato and began his recording career.
The same year he was recruited by Jean-luc Ponty to tour. Shortly after that tour, he auditioned for Chick Corea and began a 6 year, 5 record and Grammy award winning period with him. That same year Ibanez guitars approached him to endorse their guitar which culminated in a long relationship and spawned the Frank Gambale model guitar which was first on sale worldwide in 1987. They made 4 versions of the guitar, the FGM100, FGM200, FGM300 and FGM400.
In 1987 Frank signed a 3-video deal with DCI for instructional videos. In 1988, Frank signed his major label deal with JVC.
In 1992, Frank decided it was time to go out there on his own and has been touring with his group ever since. He has toured in many countries with his own band including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and the U.S. He has done countless seminars and master classes worldwide to countries as far away as South Africa and Uruguay.
In 1996 Frank was offered a position of Head of the Guitar Department of a new musical school in the Los Angeles area called the L.A.Music Academy. He wrote the core curriculum/ study program for this one year vocational school including Harmony and Theory, Improvisation, Technique and Composition coursesHe teaches one, sometimes 2 full day a week at the school when he is in town and maintains the guitar department whose teachers he chose.
Recently Frank began his own record label called Wombat Records on which he re-released his early Legato catalog and is preparing other releases such as a double live CD and a duet CD with Maurizio Colonna, the famous Italian Classical guitarist. He also has signed a 2 album deal with Steve Vai's new record company called Favored Nations. Frank has also been with the group Vital Information for 13 years. The group includes drummer Steve Smith, keyboardist Tom Coster and bassist Baron Browne. With this group Frank has performed on and contributed to over 10 albums. Another side project has been 2 trio recordings with bassist Stu Hamm and drummer Steve Smith on Mike Varney's Tone Center records.
Frank has recently left Ibanez for a new deal with Yamaha guitars and is set to release a new Frank Gambale model in July 2000. He keeps a busy schedule either writing for an album, book or video, touring or helping design a new guitar model with Yamaha, or giving seminars in Germany, or doing a session for an Italian pop record.
Gambale-Hamm-Smith GHS-3: Gambale- Hamm-Smith GHS-3: The Light Beyond, Show Me What You Can Do, Resident Alien, Coming To Your Senses, Thinking Out Loud, Passages (1994), The Great Explorers, Noteworker, Thunder From Down Under, Frank Gambale 'Live', A Present For The Future, Brave New Guitar; Sampling CD: Songstarters Guitar Sample Cd's
Chick Corea: Beneath The Mask, Inside Out, Eye Of The Beholder, Grp Super Live, Lightyears; Vital Information: Live Around The World, Show 'Em Where You Live, Where We Come From, Ray Of Hope, Easier Done Than Said, Vital-Live, Fiafiaga
Concert video and Instructional DVD (2003)
Concert With Class (Warner Brothers )
Chop Builder/ The Ultimate Guitar Workout (Warner Bros)
Monster Licks And Speed Picking (Warner Bros)
Modes: No More Mystery (Warner Bros)
Books by Gambale:
The Best Of Frank Gambale ( Hal Leonard )
The Great Explorers Transcription (Hal Leonard)
Frank Gambale - Artist Transcriptions (Hal Leonard)
Improvising Made Easier (Warner Brothers)
The Technique Book/Cassette Part 1 (Warner Brothers)
The Technique Book/Cassette Part 2 (Warner Brothers)
Speed Picking (Hal Leonard)
Jerry Garcia praised Gambale in Musician Magazine December 1989, and Rolling Stone October 31st,1991.
Frankie Nemko: Frank Gambale. In a Word, "Phenomenal", in: Jazz Times, May 1990
Michael Gam: Frank Gambale. Sweeping Up from the Land Down Under, in: Jazziz (Jun/Jul.1990)
Bill Milkowski: Frank Gambale, in: Down Beat (Aug.1990)
Jim Ferguson: Frank Gambale - All Things Considered, in: Jazz Times (Aug.1994)
Patrick Cole: Elektric Band. An Alignment of Positive Charges, in: Jazziz (Aug/Sep.1990) (interview with Chick Corea, Dave Weckl, Gambale)
Grammy Award 1988 With Chick Corea Elektric Band
Grammy Nomination 1990 With Corea.
Guitar Player Magazine Readers Poll Winner 1989
Guitar Player Magazine Readers Poll Winner 1990