Frank Villafranca was born in Buffalo, New York in 1956. He was the first to study music in his family other than his father, Joseph J. Villafranca who studied saxophone in high school and partly while serving in the army in World War II.
Frank began playing the saxophone later than usual and started lessons at age 14 in 9th grade in high school. As a saxophonist, Frank’s musical career started as an arranger/performer in the Boston area. He attended Berklee College Of Music, finishing his studies in 1979 to pursue work in a local and popular band “Sunshyne”. He arranged and composed for local groups in the Boston area while recording with "Fresh Tracks" studio where he acquired many TV and radio credits.
In 1984 Frank decided to make the trip to Los Angeles where he met Andrew D. Gordon. They performed in bands led by Andrew, showcasing his album "Silhouette". "Walking The Lonely Streets", a song from his groundbreaking album, was featured on "General Hospital". Meanwhile, Andrew created his music publishing company, www.adgproductions.com, where Andrew and Frank continue to work and perform together producing, recording and writing instructional, play along books & CDs. They currently perform as "The Super Groovers" and are releasing their second CD, "Mainline Connection" later this spring, 2012. An exciting new arrangement of the original "Walking The Lonely Streets" will be a featured song on this incredible new CD.
Frank invested several years contracting and leading bands for major events and amongst many others, provided music for Ed Asner, Howie Long, Roger Love, and Christopher Knight.
For eight years Frank worked with the “San Gabriel Seven”. Performing with SGS, Frank has had the pleasure and incredible experience of working with some of Los Angeles’s greatest musicians including Bill Watrous, Pete Christlieb and Eric Marienthal. From the bands conception Frank recorded four CDs with them, their newest release, "Lost My Heart", with vocalist Ingrid James, from Australia. Most recently Frank is focusing on projects most important to him: "The Roch Band", "Axiom", "Doctor Wu", "The Super Groovers"
Frank plays "Selmer Mark VI" alto and tenor saxophones, both low 100,000 series. His soprano sax is a curved "Yanagisawa". He has played "LaVoz" reeds since he began playing. Recently he has tried many different brands of reeds but returned to LaVoz. For over 20 years his mouthpieces were all "Beechler" Metal Bellite, Tenor: #8 with medium soft Lavoz, Alto: #7 with medium LaVoz and Soprano: #6 with medium LaVoz. Ligatures were all “Oleg” and he has also added several Oleg pro sax enhancers on tenor and alto saxophones. Recently, he added "SR Technologies" saxophone mouthpieces to tenor and alto, the “Europa” on tenor and “Legend” on alto. LaVoz are still his favorite brand along with the Jazz Select reeds 2H & 3S, from Rico. Since switching mouthpieces, reeds have been lasting longer and playing more easily. I find the hard rubber Europa and Legend, blow easily and work great for classic and contemporary jazz.