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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo @ Customs House. South Shields. October 9


Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo + Joe Peterson (guitars)
(Review by Russell).
It Might as Well be Spring, Stardust, Getting Sentimental Over You the tunes came thick and fast – revue style. No time for introductions, no small talk. Guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo suited (not particularly sharply), stood throughout the performance - not a chair, not a stool in sight. In fact their performance or routine was that of stand up comedians; Vignola the funny man, Raniolo the straight man. The Americans put on a show; scripted wise-cracking, ad-libbing, audience participation. Now, let me make one thing clear…I didn't travel to South Shields to be entertained, I didn't go out to have a laugh. After all, I'm a jazz fan! Alright, truth be told, this was good fun. 

Vignola, a bona fide jazz player, has cornered the market with his laugh-a-minute show. Strangely he looked like Hank Marvin, Wilko Johnson and Anthony Perkins all rolled into one. Alarmingly, he and Raniolo had the Shadows’ dance steps off to a tee! Mid-step Raniolo said: This isn't as easy as it looks!  Opera, ballet (Swan Lake), the symphony, all visited in a fast-paced show. The bizarre set list went on…My Blue Heaven, Frank Zappa’s Let Me Take You to the Beach, a couple of bars of Led Zeppelin then Django (Nuages, Rhythm Future, Mystery Pacific) and Les Paul (LP’s hit recording of How High the Moon). The latter was sure to be included as Vignola worked with LP for several years. 
More Richard Rodgers, Caravan, Girl From Ipanema, Its Only a Paper Moon – two sets full of great tunes played by two first rate guitarists. Vignola invited South Shields’ guitarist Joe Peterson to join him on stage to play Summertime. In such exalted company Joe, all I can say is: Well Done! One young student of the guitar, front row, looked agog, perhaps stunned by the brilliance of Vignola and Raniolo, perhaps dismayed at the slapstick show and lack of real jazz. Vignola noticed the young man. Mid tune, at break-neck pace, without missing a note said: It’s a living!
Russell                  

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