April-6th-2009, 07:07 PM
Has quit quitting
John "Jack" Fragomeni Jr. -- R.I.P.
I was devastated to learn today that my friend and teacher, Jack Fragomeni died Saturday.
I took one semester of jazz guitar with Jack at Schenectady County Community College. He was a great teacher and a great human being.
Jack studied guitar with Atilla Zoller, played in the Albany area with Nick Brignola and had toured with Lee Konitz -- among his many accomplishments.
One of the highlights of my lessons with Jack was when he would play for me. He played with great grace and fluidity and never sounded a note that wasn't musical.
I will miss him a great deal.
4 . 6 . 0 9
John "Jack" Fragomeni Jr., 57, of Cohoes, died unexpectedly late Saturday evening, April 4, 2009 at St. Mary's Hospital in Troy. Born and educated in Schenectady, he was a graduate of Mont Pleasant High School and received his bachelor's and masters degree's from the College of St. Rose. Jack is the son of Mary (Aragosa) Fragomeni of Schenectady and the late John J. Fragomeni Sr.
A professional musician, Jack taught at the College of St Rose and at Schenectady County Community College. He played in the Empire Jazz Orchestra and in Jazz clubs and festivals. Over the years, Jack learned and worked with several Jazz greats, Nick Brignola, Atilla Zoller and Bucky Pizzarelli. Jack was well known for playing jazz guitar at several area venues including the Van Dyke and the Grog Shop over the years. He was a member of the musician union and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Besides his mother, Jack is survived by his wife of 18 years, Roswita (Apkarian) Fragomeni of Cohoes; his brothers, Mark L. Fragomeni (Michele) of Malta and Father Richard Fragomeni of Chicago; his nephews, Michael and Jason Fragomeni and Jacob Apkarian and nieces, Nicole Fragomeni and Sophie Apkarian.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday morning, April 8, 2009 at 10:15 a.m. at Bond Funeral Home, Broadway & Guilderland Ave., Schenectady, N.Y. followed at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 1255 Pleasant Street, Schenectady, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated. Calling hours will be held at the funeral home on Tuesday afternoon April 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. and evening from 6 to 8 p.m. Interment will be held in Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery at a date and time to be announced. www.bondfuneralhome.com
April-8th-2009, 07:59 AM
Originally Posted by rollhead
sad news rollhead. i'm from schenectady as well and now live in albany. i was never fortunate enough to take lessons w/ Jack but i heard him play w/ small groups a couple times in the last few years at The Stockade Inn. excellent musician.
and from my little experience a very nice guy too. i used to wait tables at Glen Sanders Mansion and i remember one day Jack coming in for sunday brunch w/ his family. i recognized him and he was flattered and gracious. he was the nicest guy i served all day.
R.I.P. Jack Fragomeni.
April-8th-2009, 12:02 PM
Has quit quitting
April-8th-2009, 07:04 PM
Has quit quitting
I am interested in knowing if anyone here has had experience setting up some kind of memorial award for someone.
I have told the head of the guitar department at the local community college where Jack taught that I want to do something to honor him.
Specifically, I suggested that we give a handmade archtop guitar to the top graduating guitar student, who is interested in pursuing jazz guitar at a four year college.
I know an excellent local luthier who would be willing to provide a beautiful, blond maple guitar at a very affordable price, $2,000. It would be a "lifetime" jazz guitar for anyone but a top-line, full time professional, IMHO.
Long term, it would probably be pretty easy to find several excellent local guitarists who studied with Jack and would be willing to take part in fund-raiser concerts. Plus, I am thinking of grants I could apply for.
There are probably a multitude of ways to honor him, but I thought that this would be a way to support both local jazz musicians and local luthiers.
I would be interested in hearing other ideas.
Last edited by rollhead; April-8th-2009 at 07:07 PM.
April-8th-2009, 09:53 PM
Hello, I am actually a close friend of Jack's brother's family. They actually set up a memorial scholarship fund in Jack's name at St. Rose. Just thought you all would like to know. He was truly a great man and it is amazing to see just how many others agree.
April-9th-2009, 09:54 AM
Has quit quitting
Fly-Fishing: Jack Fragomeni will be missed
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Morgan Lyle (Schenectady Gazette)
I met Jack Fragomeni in the mid-1990s, when he was working at the Brookwood fly shop in Rexford.
I needed turkey tail feathers for fly-tying, and couldn’t find them amid the other packages of feathers, furs, duck wings, deer tails, yarn, tinsel, thread, hooks and all the rest of the tying materials on display.
Jack disappeared for a moment, then returned and set before me a big cardboard box brimming with unpackaged turkey tail feathers. “I’m glad you asked,” he said with a big grin. I bought a bunch, and there are still a couple left today.
That was Jack: always a salesman, and always the guy you went to when you needed something in the way of fly-fishing — a rod, a reel, a vest, a line, waders, flies, tying stuff, books, magazines, gadgets and, above all, advice. At Brookwood and then for the next dozen years or so as manager of the fishing department at Goldstock’s Sporting Goods on Freeman’s Bridge Road, Jack shared with bewildered newbies and grizzled veterans alike, the wisdom he accumulated in a lifetime of high-level fly-fishing.
From his post behind the counter-topped glass cabinet full of fly reels, Jack was the undisputed fly-fishing guru of the Capital Region, chatting with fly addicts about what patterns were taking brown trout on the Delaware River or striped bass along the Massachusetts coast.
Last Saturday, just days after stepping down to part-time status at Goldstock’s to make more time for teaching and playing music, Jack died suddenly at age 57.
“We’ve lost an irreplaceable part of our fly-fishing community,” said Tom Brewster, who has worked at Goldstock’s for years and replaced Fragomeni as fishing department manager. “Jack had forgotten more about fly-fishing than most of us will ever know. He was a mentor to so many people in all aspects, not just fly-fishing or fly-tying. I don’t think there was ever a question asked of him about fly-fishing that Jack couldn’t answer. It’s a real shock to us, and I don’t know that it’s really sunk in yet. I’m sort of at a loss for words.”
Fragomeni was known to the non-fly-fishing world as a gifted guitarist who gigged with famous jazz music*ians along the eastern seaboard. He was a professor of music at The College of Saint Rose and Schen*ectady County Comm*unity College. But even in the heady worlds of academia and jazz guitar, Jack felt the urge to cast. He inst*ituted a credit-bearing course on fly-fishing, a rarity, at Saint Rose.
I’m one of the many who owe a debt of gratitude to Fragomeni. He taught me about the autumn landlocked salmon fishing at Million Dollar Beach in Lake George. He taught me how to fish with nymphs for steelhead trout and Chinook salmon on the Lake Ontario trib*utaries. He told me about Amawalk Outlet in the lower Hudson Valley and the Connetquot River on Long Island. He helped me pick out the right color dubbing to tie flies that matched the mayflies on the Del*aware, and schooled me in the advantages of casting downstream, rather than upstream, to those wary Delaware browns. He gave me casting pointers in the parking lot behind the store.
It was, in fact, Jack who suggested back in 1997 that I start writing a column on fly-fishing for the Gazette. I was already working at the paper as a city hall reporter. I told him I wasn’t expert enough, but he waved it off.
“How many boxing writers were ever champion boxers?” he asked.
Sadly, I never got to fish with Jack. We ended every conver*sation by promising to hook up, but life kept getting in the way.
Still, I think of him often while on the stream. When my cast starts to go haywire, it’s Jack’s voice I hear, telling me to move the rod in a straight line from back to front, as if rubbing a wall with the back of my hand. It always works. Tight lines, Jack.
October-4th-2009, 01:27 AM
Thank you for posting something so sweet about my uncle. we appreciate everyones support. I am a proud niece to say that my uncle was such a great man and who will be remembered not only by the family but so many other people who knew him. He was a great brother to my father, wife to rose, and a great uncle to his nieces and nephews. He was the entertainment at the family gathering and will never be forgotten. God bless all of you and thank you for the kind words. Im sure my uncle appreciates it.
October-6th-2009, 08:34 AM
Has quit quitting
Great to hear from you, lilfrags.
I just got a couple of CDs your uncle made with the *great* Steve LaSpina, who was kind enough to send them to me.
December-10th-2011, 06:30 PM
As a jazz fan who lived in the Capital District for many years, I also was a fan of Jack Fragomeni, and saw him play live on numerous occasions.
I just read Rollhead's review of Jack Fragomeni's cd "I'm Having a Good Time" on albanyjazz.com (a great website created by my old friend, leading area sax man Brian Patneaude) .
I checked out the samples on CD Baby and it is definitely something worth picking up. I just did. The trio recording was made with the great Michael Formanek on bass and drummer Jeff Hirshfield, who has played with Jim Hall, John Abercrombie, Tal Farlow, Bill Frisell, and many others.
Here's a link.
January-9th-2012, 04:29 AM