Monday, April 9, 2012

Tony Monaco Celebration Chicken Coup 2012


Tony Monaco may be the best organ player you have yet to hear of flying stealth while playing arguably some of the hottest B-3 around. Mentored by the legendary Jimmy Smith in what is considered the more classic style, Monaco does not swing, smolder or smoke. Tony Monaco burns is this most fitting of double disc recordings Celebration: Life Love Music. Intensity, passion coupled with a flawless technical ability  make Monaco an artist deserving of more than just a second look.

Disc one is over an hour of Monaco originals that are guaranteed to touch your soul and set your hair on fire all at the same time. Monaco is backed with Jason Brown on drums, Derek DiCenzo on guitar, Ken Fowser on sax, Reggie Jackson on drums, Asako Itoh on piano and Mary McClendon on lead vocals. Other guest vocalists include the Columbus  Choir Singers and The School at Church Farm High School Music Choir and Tuscia Jazz Vocal Singers. Swing is indeed king here with Monaco and saxophonist Ken Fowser trading solos throughout "Daddy Oh" and "Aglio e Olio" and this is just getting the party started! This is simply B3 swing kicked up to the moon.

Disc two is a "best of" compilation of Monaco originals laced with rhythm & blues and gospel. Technically more than proficient and one of the most artistically gifted instrumentalists on the planet, Monaco again burns with an all star line up. Joey DeFrancesco on organ, Bruce Foreman on guitar, Robert Kraut on guitar, Derek Dicenzo on guitar, Byron Landham on drums, Donny McCaslin on saxophone, Sarah Morrow on trombone, Adam Nussbaum on drums, Ted Quinian on guitar, Kenny Rampton on trumpet, Vito Rezza on drums and Louis Tsamous on drums. Variety is the key to this best of edition. Monaco will come with a more mellow soulful tone or bring the full arsenal his B3 will hold. Opening with a more retro groove on "Daddy-O" finds Monaco and his ensemble settling back and settling in for a swing that goes deep. Monaco may be one of the very few organ players that can go from 0 to 60 in less than 6 seconds while never missing a sonic beat. "Ninety Five" is from the old school new cool sound of what happens when retro is hit with the fast forward button of a master at work.

Simply put Celebration is an organ lovers dream or for anyone that can appreciate a swing that come from well past the heart and far deeper than the soul. A musical happy place where you hear the groove with your hips and feel the beat with your feat!

An outstanding release!