September 1999

Frank Vignola
Deja Vu
Concord Vista

Guitarist Frank Vignola takes an inventive stab at the "tribute" album genre with Deja Vu (Concord Vista CCD-4802-2; 54:29), which hovers mostly over pop tunes of the '60s ("White Room") and '70s . Vignola smoothes out and overdresses some of his pieces here (Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff," with its echoing vocals, and Carole King's "It's Too Late," reworked as a synthy midnight smooth jazz piece), but pulls strange and compelling quirky vibes from others. Foreigner's dewy ballad, "Waiting for a Girl Like You," for example, is moved into a plucky 6/8 tempo to become a weird little swinging piece. Likewise Kansas' "Dust in the Wind" romps strangely along at an upbeat, rubberband disco pace. It's odd, but it works. Vignola's doodling, warm-toned guitar work is strong throughout-though not enough to rise above the annoying vocals populating a blues/jazz rework of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way." Extra points are earned for brazen invention here, even if the creative spirit does not always hit the mark.

Originally published in September 1999

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