New York, NY
- The Frank & Joe Show (featuring virtuoso guitarist Frank Vignola and world class percussionist Joe Ascione) return on May 10, 2005 with their brand new album entitled, 66 2/3
, on HYENA Records. The group, which is currently a sextet, also includes rhythm guitarist Ken Smith, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and percussionists Chuck Ferruggia and Rich Zukor. A 13-track collection, 66 2/3
is The Frank & Joe Show's second album to date and features defining performances of songs such as It Might As Well Be Spring," My Prayer," Sway" and Quizas," reinvented in their own inimitable style. Hyena's Joel Dorn produced the set and special guest vocalists, Jane Monheit and Janis Siegel, join Frank & Joe for exquisitely stylized versions of Manhattan" and Glow Worm," respectively.
The Frank & Joe Show were initially signed to HYENA as Hot Club USA, a Django Reinhardt-esque act that interpreted the work of the legendary gypsy guitarist. In the studio, during the first recording sessions, the original plan shifted focus. Producer Joel Dorn felt the group was capable of much more than the obligatory gypsy swing and guitar jazz. Frank and Joe, sensing an opportunity to break from an artistic pigeonhole, wholeheartedly agreed. The result, 33 1/3 under the new moniker, The Frank & Joe Show, was a record that covered an incredible amount of ground, from the Latin-tinged groove of Tico, Tico" to the '70s funk of Long Train Runnin'," while simultaneously presenting a signature sound.
Despite recording practically all the parts themselves on the debut, Frank and Joe assembled a top flight band so that they could tour behind the record. A Sunday night residency at New York City jazz club, Sweet Rhythm, honed them into a razor sharp unit that would perform across the U.S. in 2004, ultimately playing over 100 dates at top notch venues including The Ryman, The Egg, The Saville Theater and The Smithsonian Jazz Cafe. By this point, The Frank & Joe Show had developed from what was initially a studio project to a full-fledged band of road warriors, lighting up stages with dazzling and dynamic performances and building a fan base that demanded repeat visits to all corners of the country. Rave reviews soon started to pour in. The Boston Phoenix stated: Hear us now, believe us later: Frank Vignola is one of the finest guitarists in jazz and drummer Joe Ascione is an all-around swingin' machine," while The Washington Post declared: Vignola and Ascione make time fly backward. If the breathlessly paced reprise of the 'Spiderman' theme song isn't enough to win you over, chances are the turbocharged 'Flight of the Bumblebee' or the dreamy 'Stardust' should do the trick."
The title of The Frank & Joe Show's latest effort, 66 2/3, is a play on their debut, 33 1/3, alluding to the band's evolution over the last two years. The entire group was integrated into the recording of the new album. A telepathic connection can be heard on cuts like After Hours," Let It Happen" and Hungarian Dance No. 5" as they navigate shifting time signatures and tricky chord progressions, while sounding downright joyous in the process. Frank Vignola turns an endless array of inventive phrases on the guitar. Lightning fast single note runs veer into perfectly placed sliding chords, yet dazzling virtuosity never comes at the expense of his pure musicality and heartfelt soul and sentimentality. His partner, Joe Ascione, is the perfect foil. Joe is a master of rhythm and cadence. Whether he's driving the tempo with a rock steady groove on the djembe drum or adding flourishes of triangle, cymbals, tambourine and shakers, what's best for the song is first and foremost. On 66 2/3, we hear a hard working road band coming into its own. The Frank & Joe Show have a sound unlike anything else in instrumental music - equal parts American roots music and gypsy swing, '70s rock and modern jazz, acoustic funk and timeless songbook standards. Perhaps it's best not to try and describe it, but to simply embrace it. Whatever the case, you can bet The Frank & Joe Show will be crisscrossing the planet and bringing music to the world over in 2005.