Frank Vignola

Déjà Vu

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Frank Vignola is another well-known straight-ahead electric guitarist who's aware that an instrumental cover of a well-known hit is only as good as its arrangement is. Vignola does a stylistic 180 and goes the smooth jazz/light funk route on Déjà Vu, a spirited homage to instantly recognizable pop gems of the 70's and 80s. While a few of the tunes are given pretty much the easy listening treatment (a laid-back take on Carole King's "It's Too Late" is saved only by lightning improvisations at the end, for instance), Vignola finds wildly creative ways to tackle songs that were actually more mundane in their original incarnations. Most notable is Kansas' staid acoustic tune "Dust in the Wind," here punched up with a brisk disco beat, a chanting female chorus, and a zesty race between Vignola's electric riffs and a burning synth horn arrangement. He then spruces up Foreigner's slow dance piece "Waiting for a Girl Like You" with a 6/8 pace (as opposed to the original 4/4), leading into the main melody with a funky new motif he keeps referring back to. Best of all, however, is a fiery blues/jazz hip-hop spin on "Walk This Way" whose rumbling funk basslines and distorted rock guitar lead combine the best aspects of the original Aerosmith version and the later Run DMC take.

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