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ALBUM REVIEWS

Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo: Swing Zing!

Read "Swing Zing!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

When a press release accompanying a new album conveys more information than is found on the album itself, the supposition must be that it was recorded hurriedly with an eye toward a similarly expeditious release. Swing Zing! pairs the estimable guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, who've been working together for more than five years, with half a dozen guests who are identified on the album (and in the press release) by name but not by instrument. Three of them--Bucky ...

SHRINKTUNES

Playing it Forward: The Boys at the Blue Note

Read "Playing it Forward: The Boys at the Blue Note" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

It seemed to happen overnight. One minute it was all video games, with the boys totally immersed in furious thumbwork. They'd sit together for hours on end, staring at a busy screen, manipulating cartoon adversaries to kill each other in great bursts of color and noise. There was considerable musical talent among them, and assorted lessons here and there, but no burning interest that any adult could detect. Then suddenly the group shifted, like a flock of birds ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mariachi Flor de Toloache at Celebrate Brooklyn

Read "Mariachi Flor de Toloache at Celebrate Brooklyn" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes

Mariachi Flor de Toloache, Mexican Institute of SoundLatin Alternative Music Conference at Celebrate BrooklynJuly 12, 2013 Brooklyn, NYThough a constant, heavy rain dampened the spirits of many music fans who skipped Latin Alternative Music Conference's showcase at Celebrate Brooklyn, those who were present at the half-filled venue witnessed quite a varied evening which began with a presentation of the New York-based, all-female Mariachi Flor de Toloache.The nine-piece ensemble began by following tradition, playing down-tempo ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Frank Vignola: 100 Years Of Django

Read "100 Years Of Django" reviewed by Martin Longley

In this centenary year of Django Reinhardt's birth, it's inevitable that homages will be uppermost in the minds of the guitarist's disciples. Frank Vignola has no desire to resist this temptation, given that so much of his very fiber is directly descended from the Reinhardt legacy. But aside from the unavoidable “Nuages," Vignola sidesteps down a less over-trodden path. A core trio of Vignola, rhythm guitarist Vinny Raniolo and bassman Gary Mazzaroppi, is augmented by guest accordionist ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Frank Vignola: 100 Years of Django

Read "100 Years of Django" reviewed by J Hunter

Of all the things guitarist Django Reinhardt accomplished in his 43 years on earth, two stand out: He proved you don't have to have a big band in order to swing, and you don't have to play soft and slow in order to be intimate. Reinhardt's Le Hot Club Quintet of France (formed with violinist Stéphane Grappelli, who David Grisman has called “the master of String Swing") embodied those two proofs, fueled by Reinhardt's evocative playing and prolific writing. 2010 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Frank Vignola: Vignola Plays Gershwin

Read "Vignola Plays Gershwin" reviewed by Andrew Velez

With the Brothers Gershwin we're talking about the very summit of the Great American Songbook, words and music that have for the most part passed into the language. They are true evergreens that retain their capacity to swing, and provide fertile opportunities for a musician as varied in range as guitarist Frank Vignola. The only surprising thing about this album may be why Vignola didn't make it sooner. With a versatility on his part that ranges from swing to bop ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Frank Vignola: Vignola Plays Gershwin

Read "Vignola Plays Gershwin" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

"I like a Gershwin tune," Frank Sinatra sings on the Burton Reed/Ralph Freed classic, “How About You." Guitarist Frank Vignola apparently loves a Gershwin tune, passionately.Vignola--with twelve CDs as a leader under his belt--is a versatile musician who sites an array of influences: Django Reinhardt, Joe Pass, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Christian. On Vignola Plays Gershwin he leans in a swinging gypsy direction, bringing a Django vibe to fourteen George Gershwin melodies.The guitarist's quartet includes ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Frank Vignola/Joe Ascione: 66 2/3

Read "66 2/3" reviewed by Marcia Hillman

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Frank Vignola/Joe Ascione: 33 1/3: The Frank & Joe Show

Read "33 1/3: The Frank & Joe Show" reviewed by Mitchell Seidel

Guitarist Frank Vignola and drummer/percussionist Joe Ascione recently marked their one-year anniversary of Sunday night gigs at New York's Sweet Rhythm with the release of this wonderfully quirky album that defies definition. How else can you describe a recording that features the theme from an old cartoon show, a rock era pop tune, Cole Porter and Rimsky-Korsakov all on the same disc? Vignola and Ascione have long established themselves as younger musicians with both an appreciation for ...

INTERVIEWS

The Frank & Joe Show: Looking for a Long, Happy Run

Read "The Frank & Joe Show: Looking for a Long, Happy Run" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Back in the 1960s, after the British Invasion, it seemed every block had a band and anyone who knew three chords on a guitar joined in. Maybe they couldn't really play guitar, and the drummer might have sounded like he should be washing pots and pans, not banging on them. But it was all among friends and it was fun. It was a feeling. Imagine if such a feeling were to be transposed to those who actually knew ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Frank Vignola and Joe Ascione: 33 1/3: The Frank & Joe Show

Read "33 1/3: The Frank & Joe Show" reviewed by J. Robert Bragonier

If you were in New York City some Sunday night and you should chance to wander by the nightclub Sweet Rhythm, you would experience a musical happening of ever-increasing proportions. There, guitarist Frank Vignola, percussionist Joe Ascione, and “their merry band of music makers" hold court for an ever-expanding group of devotees. What makes these events noteworthy is the breadth of different musical dialects spoken: gypsy swing, breezy island melodies, cowboy kitsch, Latin and Spanish-tinged evergreens--or should I say cacti?--and ...

NITE & DISK

The Frank and Joe Show: The Hoot Factor at Sweet Rhythm

Read "The Frank and Joe Show: The Hoot Factor at Sweet Rhythm" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

These guys are a hoot. On first hearing Frank & Joe's debut CD on Hyena Records, 33 1/3 , I e-mailed Joe that very thought, and he wrote back, “what is this 'hoot'?" I said it refers to something that's fun and delightful, like their CD. Turns out it's also a hoot to watch “The Frank and Joe Show" itself, as I did recently at Sweet Rhythm, where it's been running for months every Sunday night. The band that evening ...


Ocean Blues

"Ocean Blues" performed by the Dave Wilson Quartet at Chris’ Jazz Café (Philadelphia) on March 29, 2018. From the album One Night At Chris’ (2019) featuring Dave Wilson (saxophone), Dan Monaghan (drums), Tony Marino (bass) and Kirk Reese (piano).

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