Erica Miller
Vinny Raniolo

Vinny Raniolo

I don't have a lot of background info on Vinny Raniolo. I know he's from Long Island. I first saw him when he was about 22 and accompanying Frank Vignola during his appearance at the Connecticut Guitar Society's "Summer Jazz Series" keeping up with Frank note for note. No easy task. He began playing guitar at age 13 and I believe the fact that he has been able to put together his amazing skills in what amounts to a few short years proves his extraordinary dedication to the instrument. At the time of the Jazz Series I was just starting to formulate the idea for the CD and it was there that I decided both Frank and Vinny should be included. I spent a little after show time with them and was immediately taken by their both being such down to earth and open individuals. I later found the chance to approach them with the idea at a surprise appearance by The Frank Vignola Trio at a holiday get together for the Guitar Society. Yes, they will come to your house and play for your party. Vinny expressed feelings of honor to be invited to participate. I was feeling honored myself that he would feel honored. I was walking on air when I left the party that night because I knew with these two gentlemen committed my little project was beginning to grow some serious wings.

There are several interesting things about Vinny's track. Probably the most interesting is he would be the youngest guitar player on the album and as such was the closest in age to Rickie. When we did that track she was 22, the youngest performer on the album, and he was 23, so to me it was a rare privlege to sit there in the control booth watching these two very serious young musicians work together. It was like gazing into the future of music. Good for an old guy's soul to see it continue to flourish in such capable young hands.

Another interesting point is his solo. The take was done, as most were, "live" with just Rickie and Vinny in isolation booths at Bennet Studios doing several takes together. Then we picked what we thought was the best of them. Through each take Vinny soloed the guitar break without an accompanist. When we were done I thought what we had for solos on all of them were just a little sparse so at the last minute I asked him to go back in and put another solo down over his first solo. He jumps up off the couch and almost incredulously says, "REALLY!?". I said , "Of course!". Off he runs to his booth again with his gigantic sounding Collings guitar muttering some ideas to himself about what he should do. With the exception of a single note he went in and laid down the solo in one take. We tried a couple times to punch in the note he missed but he just could not get it so Dae finds the exact same note somewhere else and pastes it in there for us. Vinny's response? "Dae, I LOVE you!". The laughter flowed. One thing about this whole big session we had with Bucky, Gene, Frank and Vinny. We had a gooood time. We may have done more laughing than work but I don't care. The vibe was there and that's what counted. The only thing we didn't know was Rickie was quietly freaking out with being new and she wasn't necessarily having as much fun as the rest of us. She said recently told me she is glad she had no idea who all these guys were or she would have been freaking out even more. To her credit she hid it well and I learned something valuable about working with a singer that day.

If you are a guitar lover like me and have the chance to see Frank and Vinny perform, do not miss them, it is a special treat. If it's your real lucky day you might even get to see some juggling. One of these days I hope to snag them again and put them back in the studio working on some other crazy idea of mine. For now I'm just content watching and listening.

Please feel free to browse the site to learn more about the project and the musicians involved.

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