by James Pasinsky
Jazz saxophonist Vinnie Riccitelli started out professionally in 1941, at age fifteen, performing along side his brother Joe in the Catskills of New York. He joined the Navy during World War II as a radio operator, before attending the prestigious Juilliard School Of Music. Upon graduation, he would marry the love of his life and release his first album in 1956. Vinnie would not record another album, but performed along with some of the greats like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbara Streisand, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and The Temptations just to name some of his endeavors over the course of four decades. Vinnie Riccitelli stopped performing professionally in 2018, but in 2019 an album was started which gave tribute to Vinnie Riccitelli. The album is “For The Record” and was performed by the Vinnie Riccitelli Octet, with Vinnie appearing at every recording session for the album.
The new seventeen song release features a mix of Vinnie Riccitelli compositions, along with some of his favorites from Thelonious Monk, Henry Mancini and Herbie Hancock. The set of musicians that make up the octet are some of the top session performers in jazz music and bring the music of Vinnie Riccitelli and others to life, beginning with the energetic entrance of Riccitelli’s own “Minor Seventh Heaven.” The classic big band sound of “Stompin’ At The Savoy” is executed perfectly, while the slow sway of “Blues Dominant” gives you another great Riccitelli original full of emotion and heart. The melody of “Darn That Dream” simply flows along, while “Flying Down To Rio” is full of energy and rhythm to get your foot tapping. The album closes with the Octet’s horn-infused version of Monk’s “Round Midnight,” along with the final Vinnie Riccitelli composition “Little Boy Blew,” which swings with excitement.