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Tony Monaco: Intimately Live At The 501

Jim Santella By

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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 Louis Tsamous supplies a consistent drive that brings everyone in the room together. This is an intimate session. These standards receive due respect and a fresh coat of paint. Monaco sees to that. His organ chops plant the seeds, and everyone is affected. Stretching out comes naturally. Most tracks run for about 10 minutes. Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” finds each artist improvising at length with free spirits. Recommended, Intimately Live At The 501 has captured the real deal and preserved it. We’re as good as there.

Track Listing: The Cat; Takin

Personnel: Tony Monaco: organ; Robert Kraut: guitar; Louis Tsamous: drums.

Title: Intimately Live at the 5:01 | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Summit Records

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