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Frank Vignola/Joe Ascione: 66 2/3 (2005)

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Frank Vignola/Joe Ascione: 66 2/3 No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The Frank & Joe Show's second release finds the group expanded to a sextet—lead guitarist Frank Vignola and percussionist Joe Ascione add rhythm guitarist Ken Smith, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi, and percussionists Chuck Ferruggia and Rich Zukor to the roster (the disc also includes one vocal apiece by Jane Monheit and Janis Siegel).

The "show opens with Rodgers and Hammerstein's standard "It Might As Well Be Spring done with a samba-like beat. Vignola plays the melody, then goes off into a gentle guitar solo as Ascione provides the rhythmic sway. "My Prayer features a tasty Vignola solo. Jane Monheit performs her straightforwardly pleasant vocal on Rodgers and Hart's "Manhattan to a Latin beat, starting off with voice and Ascione's drums, Vignola coming in on the bridge and another solo, then Monheit returning for the last verse.

The Latin classic "Quizás finds Vignola sliding from single melodic lines into chords and back again with ease. And "Sway is done as a merengue at breakneck speed—lightning-quick solos by Vignola and Ascione. "Hungarian Dance No. 5 finds the guys following each other easily through changing time signatures and complicated chord progressions.

The three originals are consecutive: "After Hours, a driving blues by Vignola; "Let It Happen, whose raga-like melody is prettily interpreted during Vignola's solo; and the sophisticated and smooth "City Samba (written by Vignola and Ascione). The time-sensitive "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans? is done simply and with sensitivity. Bach's "Partita No. 2 is combined with Mozart's "Rondo" on a live recording, played very fast by Vignola with drum punctuation by Ascione. The closing "Glow Worm features Janis Siegel's swinging vocal transformed by some nifty multitracking into a vocal group.

Frank Vignola and Joe Ascione, a pair of talented musicians, work well and happily with each other to invent interesting approaches to a wonderfully eclectic collection of material. This offering follows in the best tradition of making an audience feel good.

Track Listing: It Might As Well Be Spring; My Prayer; Manhattan; Quizas; Sway; Hungarian Dance; After Hours; Let It Happen; City Samba; Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans; Bach Violin Concerto>Mozart Jam; Thats All; Glow Worm.

Personnel: Frank Vignola: guitar; Joe Ascione: percussion; Jane Monheit, Janis Siegel: vocals; Ken Smith: guitar; Gary Mazzaroppi: bass; Chuck Ferruggia, Rich Zukor: percussion.

Record Label: Hyena Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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