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Framework makes it work!

On Saturday November 22nd, 2003 my wife Debbie and I went to The Hunt Club Grill (in Summit) a little later than usual, but in time to see and hear the Framework quartet play a few songs. The food is always excellent, and on this night, so was the music. Before we knew it, they were packing up, but not before we bought one of their live CD’s. We liked the fact that the same musicians we heard that night were the 4 regulars featured and pictured on the CD.

Framework consists of Joe Frame on guitars, Willy Ryan on bass, Michael Robbins on violin, and Larry Marc-Aurele on percussion (congas, hi-hat, and other foot and hand percussion). Before they even play, one of the first things that strike you is the unusual lineup of instruments. Somehow it works like a charm. Their choice of material suits them to a ‘T’ as we found out even more from listening to the CD. Willy Ryan’s bass playing is fabulous-extremely creative and driving. Michael Robbins plays the violin with fantastic skill and passion, beautiful tone and pitch, driven harmonically by the chord mastery of guitarist/leader Joe Frame. Percussionist Larry Marc-Aurele lays down solid, fiery rhythms with his hands and feet. It all adds up to a uniquely impressive sound. They play a lot of Bossa Nova/Latin flavored tunes, with a great deal of swing and shuffle and songs from the Great American Songbook.

Using the contact information on the CD, we learned that they would appear at Giamano’s in Bradley Beach the next Saturday, November 29th. Upstairs is an intimate, small dining area and bar area where the bands perform. The food was excellent, and after dinner, we sat on comfortable chairs in the bar area to listen to Framework. We were part of a small but attentive gathering of people who thoroughly enjoyed this 4-piece combo. Mr. And Mrs. Riccio, whose son Justino plays as a professional timbale player for Bio Ritmo, spoke with us about Justino’s, 13-year tenure with this 10-piece salsa band. They also remarked very positively about how Framework sounded so ‘big’ with just 4 people. We also heard club manager, Rhonda, telling percussionist Larry Marc-Aurele, "You guys are fantastic-I could listen to you all night-just you on the congas!" She also gave violinist Michael Robbins high praise for his masterful and passionate performance-ditto for Joe Frame on guitar and Ed, whose last name we didn’t get. He was subbing for the great Willy Ryan on bass, who was not available that evening. At one point Rhonda asked, "Do you guys play any reggae?" They then broke into a reggae/jam version of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone’-great stuff!

Debbie and I are not musicians, but we share a passion for music, especially music with a tropical feel to it. We plan to see Justino Riccio and Bio Ritmo just as soon as we find them playing in this area. We are always on the lookout for great talent to listen to and write about. Framework was definitely worth the time!

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