All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Vinny Raniolo: Air Guitar

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Now here's something that brings fresh meaning to the idea of an artist piloting an album. Virtuoso guitarist and avid aviator Vinny Raniolo uses his debut leader date as an opportunity to fly the friendly skies, putting his ax to good use on an aerial-themed program with a pleasantly straightforward outlook.

While Raniolo has come to be known for his associations with other skilled six-stringers—Tommy Emmanuel, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Frank Vignola, to cite three—he doesn't take one on as a copilot for this venture. Instead he turns to bassist Elias Bailey, and together they remind us how many classics move skyward in their stories and/or metaphoric trajectories.

This nimble duo wastes no time in getting down to business in the fun and familiar. An appropriately happy-go-lucky "Come Fly With Me" sets the scene while saluting 'Ol Blue Eyes and conjuring thoughts of a carefree lifestyle. Then a parade of chestnuts follows—a "Flying Down To Rio" that's tight and lighthearted, a "Blue Skies" that moves from a mellow tempo to Mach 2, a "Leaving On A Jet Plane" with an island tinge, and two more handfuls of volitant vehicles.

While Raniolo impresses on the burners, they're not his only strength; the ballads in the mix—numbers like "Stardust" and "Skylark"—tend to please in equal proportions. With some of these selections the guitarist automatically points toward his instrumental forefathers—Charlie Christian through "Air Mail Special," Django Reinhardt with "Nuages"—but he doesn't ape them. He's simply absorbed what those masters created, a fact that's evident in the way his agile fingers do their work. And with Bailey walking lines with quick steps, providing vitality through solos, moving in tandem with Raniolo, and adding musical retorts, another layer of sophistication emerges in this music.

Once this duo establishes its m.o., it holds that course straight on to the horizon. It's a line toward a single and specific sight, but what a beautiful vista it is. Raniolo and Bailey are all class, and this album makes that case again and again.

Track Listing: Come Fly With Me; Flying Down To Rio; Blue Skies; Leaving On A Jet Plane; Test Pilot; Airmail Special; Stardust; Fly Me To The Moon; Flying Home; Nuages; Volare; Let's Fly Away; East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon); Come Josephine In My Flying Machine.

Personnel: Vinny Raniolo: guitar; Elias Bailey: bass.

Title: Air Guitar | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read The Berlin Concert CD/LP/Track Review
The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read IMA IMA CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Breathe CD/LP/Track Review
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Good Music CD/LP/Track Review
Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "Qitara" CD/LP/Track Review Qitara
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "We Know Not What We Do" CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Disconnected" CD/LP/Track Review Disconnected
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "Zero" CD/LP/Track Review Zero
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 16, 2018
Read "Plodi" CD/LP/Track Review Plodi
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Life In Space" CD/LP/Track Review Life In Space
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 3, 2017