Personnel: Frank Vignola: guitar, bass; Joe Ascione: percussion; Ken Smith: guitar; Jane Monheit: vocals on “Manhattan”; Janis Siegel: vocals on “Glow Worm”; Dave Valentine: flute on “Quizas”; Gary Mazzaroppi: bass; Mark Egan: bass, Joel Forbes: bass, Chuck Ferruggia: percussion; Rich Zukor: percussion
Moonglow and 66 2/3 were produced by Joel Dorn on the Hyena Records label.
Moonglow is a duet of guitar giants Bucky Pizzarelli and Frank Vignola, with the concept born out of mutual respect by the musicians. The 16 tracks cover pop standards with imaginative and creative infusion of both guitarists, and not from a series of solos and exchanges, but from the ability to blend their guitars into a complementing sound. What is refreshing is that there is no need for either musician to overshadow the other, there is an enormous amount of respect for each other’s talents and interpretations of a song, which allows Moonglow to sparkle.
The arrangement of standards such as “Whispering”, “Moonlight Serenade”, and “P.S. I Love You” is extraordinary, and encompasses one of those “once in a lifetime” releases that many musicians dream to be a part of, and Bucky and Frank have achieved. To call this release refreshing would be an understatement. I have put Moonglow on during dinner parties, and have been asked countless times, “Who is this?” Moonglow has become my CD of choice when I need to relax, and draw upon my creative side, and it sets a surreal romantic environment when you need one.
66 2/3 takes on a different sound than Moonglow with Frank Vignola collaborating for a second time with Joe Ascione percussionist extraordinaire; their first collaboration was the critically acclaimed 33 1/3. On 66 2/3 they are accompanied by a top flight band where as on 33 1/3 they played all of the parts, this in no way diminishes the sound, energy or creativity of either musician, in fact it allows them to open up. After 33 1/3, they assembled a band and hit the road for more than 100 dates across the U.S. It was upon the acclaimed success on the road with the band that they assembled the songs and sound for 66 2/3. Assembling 13 tracks that include standards such as “It Might As Well Be Spring”, “Glow Worm”, and “My Prayer” along with original tracks such as “After Hours”, “Let It Happen”, and “City Samba”, the sound of 66 2/3 is all about Frank and Joe.
The track “Manhattan” is Joe at his best as he sets the tone and tempo with his gentle percussion beat, which leads the way for the exquisite voice of Jane Monheit. The two virtuosos carry this song, with some notes intermixed from Frank’s guitar, but this a mostly a duet between Joe and Jane.
The original tracks such as “After Hours” and “Let It Happen” feature the tight rhythmic sound that has been honed from the countless days on the road, and from the clairvoyant interplay Frank and Joe have. For musicians, you will be reveling in the chord changes and progressions and the shifts in time signatures found throughout this release; for the rest of the listening audience, you will be reveling in the pure sound and enjoyment that oozes from every note.
66 2/3 and Moonglow may also be found on iTunes, Emusic.com, DiscLogic.com and Amazon.com.
Note – Music Scene is not sponsored by any third party. All music that is written about in Music Scene are the views and experiences of the writer, and reflects a compilation of music, sent to us by musicians, producers, acquired during travel to unique destinations, recommended by our country host or a local resident, just happening upon a music event, searching out a Jazz club, or other live music venue.
© March 2006. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.