Down Beat - p.783 stars out of 5
- "With a slight, slow samba feel, there's a tropical flair, an open-air quality that conjures up nights on a Caribbean cruise and dancing till dawn."
JazzTimes - pp.114-115
"[A] feast of fireworks, made to entertain with flash and nostalgia, which it does quite well."
The Frank & Joe Show: Ken Smith (guitar); Frank Vignola, Gary Mazzaroppi (bass instrument); Chuck Ferruggia, Rick Zukor (percussion); Joe Ascione.
Personnel: Jane Monheit, Janis Siegel (vocals); Frank Vignola (guitar); Dave Valentin (flute); Rich "Dusty Chopmeat" Zukor, Joe Ascione (percussion).
Additional personnel: Mark Egan (bass instrument); Dave Valentin, Jane Monheit, Janis Siegel.
Audio Mixers: Jamie Polaski; Gene Paul.
Liner Note Author: Victor Sheldrake.
Recording information: DB Plus Digital Sound Studios, New York, NY; Kuvo-FM, Denver, CO; Sear Sound, New York, NY.
Photographer: Bill Douthart.
Arranger: Frank Vignola.
The Frank & Joe Show's second CD continues in the same vein as their debut recording. Frank Vignola, a superb Django Reinhardt-inspired guitarist, and drummer Joe Ascione, a monster percussionist who plays a subtler role in this group than typical outings, once again explore a wide range of musical styles, including standards, classical works, Latin numbers, and original compositions. The light, consistently swinging sound of the band will remind some listeners of mandolinist David Grisman's releases for Acoustic Disc, though the instrumentation of the two groups is significantly different. The delicious take of "It Might as Well Be Spring" removes any trace of the song's original wistful feeling as the band rekindles it with a brisk arrangement and a slight Latin flavor. The musicians also have a blast with classical fare. "Hungarian Dance No. 5" finds them at their most inventive, outdoing comedian Allan Sherman's hilarious vocal interpretation of the 1960s ("Hungarian Goulash No. 5") without singing a note. Their live medley of "Bach Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin" and the rapid-fire "Mozart Jam" (actually based upon the composer's "Turkish March") is a masterpiece. The weakest links remain the vocal tracks. Jane Monheit's breathy, overdone take of "Manhattan" somewhat mars an otherwise fine recording. The far better vocalist Janis Siegel helps revive the long forgotten "Glow Worm," but her multi-tracked harmony vocals prove to be a bit distracting. There is also a cooking, unlisted bonus track at the end of the CD, evidently recorded during the same live radio performance mentioned earlier. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, Victor Sheldrake, who contributed the deliberately loony liner notes. ~ Ken Dryden