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Frank Vignola: Deja Vu

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.

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