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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco: Celebration

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If organists Shirley Scott and Jimmy Smith had formed some sort of a musical union, the offspring would no doubt have been Tony Monaco. Manifesting the melodicism of the former, the orchestral sensibilities of the latter and virtuosity of both, Monaco has become one of the most versatile and dazzling performers on the Hammond B3. The limited edition two-CD Celebration, on Monaco's own Chicken Coop label finds The organist in the company of various collaborators and in a number of different settings, ranging from sparse trio to jubilant choir of voices. It allows him to demonstrate his ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Tony Monaco: Vital Organs

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Tony Monaco Live at the Orbit Room Chicken Coup Records 2008 Don Hales Unified String Theory Chicken Coup Records 2008

Tony Monaco comes from the Jimmy Smith school of organists who use groove to interact successfully with audiences. At a young age, Monaco was faced with an obstacle: neuralgic amyotrophy, a disease closely related to polio, which has been his burden as well as a motivation. Through his music, Monaco has succeeded where ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Tony Monaco and Don Hales: Tonymoon for Two

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Organist Tony Monaco is Johannes Brahms to Jimmy Smith's Ludwig van Beethoven. He is the keeper of the flame, or, more appropriately, the bar keep of the chicken shack, and the ambassador of the chitlin' circuit. Over the past decade, Monaco has moved to the front of the class in organ jazz, releasing a string of critically acclaimed recordings. Monaco adds two more, one as leader and one as side man to guitarist Don Hales.

Tony Monaco Live at the Orbit Room: The Ultimate Jam Chicken Coup Records 2008

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Tony Monaco & Friends: Back At The Chicken Shack

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Accepting the torch of seminal B3 organist Jimmy Smith is one thing--holding it is another. But in the same way that Johannes Brahms carried on the legacy of Beethoven, so Tony Monaco serves Jimmy Smith. A longtime Summit Records label item, Monaco here steps out with his own imprint, Chicken Coup Records, releasing three discs and playing on two of them.

Monaco has already made a significant mark with albums including Let's Bop, Burnin' Grooves, Master Chops T, Intimately Live At The 5:01, A New Generation, and Fiery Blues. Already a considerable presence in the jazz community as a player ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco: East to West

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Launching a new label that remains a division of Summit Records, Tony Monaco honors organist Jimmy Smith and a generation of groove-oriented artists who have followed. His “I'll Remember Jimmy starts off the album: it's an up-tempo, blues-oriented smoker that lets his organ/guitar trio light up the path for all to see and experience. He leads the way with an in-depth rhythmic groove and colorful harmonic colors that capture the original essence.

The rest of the session continues with two more originals and a slate of familiar songs to honor the tradition that Jimmy Smith's “chicken shack sound ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Tony Monaco: Jazz Organ Crusader

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If you happen to be in Columbus, Ohio on most Wednesdays, you'll be doing yourself a favor if you head up on High Street just north of the student slums of Ohio State University to an unpretentious joint known as the Ravari Room. It's your typical campus dive bar, complete with cheap drinks, an incongruously placed aquarium, and TV monitors that seem permanently tuned to ESPN 2. It's not the sort of place where you'd expect to be able to hear yourself think, let alone hear great jazz. But on Wednesdays around 10pm, the Ravari Room in Columbus, Ohio becomes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco: Fiery Blues

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Tony Monaco's explosive Fiery Blues session may be his best ever. Settling into a comfortable groove, he unleashes the soulful power of the blues, and its magnetic attraction holds you in its spell.

Guitarist Derek DiCenzo and drummer Louis Tsamous have developed a delicious rapport with the organist. Together, they interpret standards and originals with vibrant energy. As the house starts rockin' and the fires heat up, each artist provides more fuel. Monaco drives with genuine soul.

Horace Silver's “The Preacher" opens with guest saxophonist Gene Walker spreadin' the word. His emotional outpouring leads to a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco Trio: Fiery Blues

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Tony Monaco has grown into a durable and intelligent purveyor of organ jazz. With the release of Fiery Blues, Mr. Monaco may now be considered in the same company and Jimmy Smith, John Patton, Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott, and Larry Young. While closer to Smith than Young in overall philosophy, Monaco does not shy away from the more challenging music (having covered Wayne Shorter, as well as Miles Davis). Fiery Blues is exactly that: a survey of the blues, everything from the gutbucket to the concert stage.

Tony Monaco has five previous recordings to his credit as a ...

INTERVIEWS

Tony Monaco: Master Chops T

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Listen to Tony Monaco play the celebrated Hammond B3 organ. He swings like mad, solos like hell, and locks into soulful, vibrant grooves. The instrument has had a great resurgence in recent years. Listen to either of his two CDs and you can see that Monaco, while unheralded, is one of those few who can really make it talk. The real deal, who’s impressed even acknowledged master Joey DeFrancesco, among others. Monaco is a monster. Master Chops T his new CD on Summit records, released in February, is aptly named. It’s hard enough to be living in Columbus, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco Trio & Joey DeFrancesco Trio: A New Generation

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Recently there has been a glut of trendy organ jazz records. All have been capably conceived and performed. Most have been cutting edge, expanding the role of organ jazz with in the music. The majority of this music has steered away from standards and blues and focused on original compositions as vehicles. While, this is what keeps this music alive and growing, it does make it a bit low fat.

Listening to organ jazz is a bit like eating collard greens after the first frost, one longs for a bit of grease in the mix. And the keepers ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco Trio & Joey DeFrancesco Trio: A New Generation

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that the Hammond B-3 gene is dominant in males of the Italian persuasion? Is there a secret spice in spaghetti sauce that makes a man's fingers burn the 88s? One listen to Paesanos On The New B3 and you would be apt to think so. A sizzling showdown between the dueling organs of B3 grand master Joey DeFrancesco and up-and-coming master Tony Monaco, Paesanos shows that the unique sound of the Hammond B-3 can still ignite the kind of sparks it did during its heyday in the '60s.

Though cheerfully wrapped in a checkerboard tablecloth motif and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco Trio & Joey DeFrancesco Trio: A New Generation

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Ready for a Hammond B-3 overload?

Tony Monaco and his trio sit down and do business with Joey DeFrancesco and his trio. All at the same time. As the two trios trade off with seamless interaction, the momentum switches from one side to the other. One organist follows the other, and one guitarist follows the other, in up-tempo battles that rage with creative juices flowing.

Monaco and DeFrancesco are using a new generation Hammond model. While credit must be given to the instrument for the sparkling crisp sounds it offers, it takes soul to interpret the way these two masters ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco Trio: Intimately Live at the 501

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Live albums are not for the faint of heart. They often feature musicians playing up to the audience with the knowledge that what they are doing will be on CD for the ages so they play every note and riff they know. Others contain performances that are disappointing, as you realize that the real magic exists for this artist in the studio. Tony Monaco’s trio does neither; they simply play their hearts out while also serving the music they are playing with respect and artistic integrity. That approach makes this a terrific live album. This outfit is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Monaco: Intimately Live At The 501

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As long as a live session is recorded over good equipment and the technical guys know what they’re doing, it’s most likely going to turn out better than a studio session. That’s the case this time out. Tony Monaco is sensational when working his regular gig. Spirits soar. His trio feeds off that audience energy and turns it around. As casual as Frank or Ella spinning off a vocal phrase, Monaco interprets with the lyricism of a veteran singer. Guitarist Robert Kraut follows suit. Together, the pair reminds us that straight-ahead jazz is all about swinging melodies in rhythm. Drummer ...



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