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66 2/3 is an eclectic collection equally at home with standards like "Manhattan and "It Might As Well Be Swing and classical pieces like a Bach violin concerto. The Frank and Joe Show, led by guitarist Frank Vignola and percussionist Joe Ascione, is comprised of ace players who can mix heady technique with an appreciation for groove.
Manhattan opens stripped to the basics of percussion and voice. Guest vocalist Jane Monheit floats over the supple hand drums like an impossibly beautiful bird. The added guitar acts like a gentle breeze, propelling the tune gently forward. "Sway, a galloping Latin workout, builds up a healthy head of steam. Original compositions like "After Hours and "Let It Happen tend to be less distinctive. Still impeccably recorded, they sound a little bit like pieces that would be used to sell high-end stereo equipmentsonically rich, but slightly flaccid. I also wish they could have thought of something else for Janis Siegel to sing than "Glow Worm. It's too easy a target to approach sarcastically and too square to approach seriously.
Overall, though, 66 2/3 is a fine second effort from a musically adventurous outfit. The band operates with a welcome sense of humor as well as admirable enthusiasm and musicianship.
Track Listing: It Might As Well Be Spring; My Prayer; Manhattan; Quizas; Sway; Hungarian Dance No. 5;
After Hours; Let It Happen; City Samba; Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans;
Bach Partitia No. 2 For Solo Violin > Mozart Jam; That's All; Glow Worm.
Personnel: Joe Ascione: percussion; Frank Vignola: guitar, bass; Mark Egan: bass; Joel Forbes: bass;
Dave Valentin: flute; Jane Monheit: vocals; Janis Siegel: vocals; Rich Zukor: percussion;
Gary Mazzaroppi: bass; Ken Smith: rhythm guitar; Chuck Ferruggia: percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.