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Tony Monaco: Over and Over


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One of the most exciting Hammond B3 players today is Tony Monaco. He knows how to shake up the funk and turn it loose. He also brings enormous energy to his playing style, pouring it gleefully into the keyboard and pedals. And it's no wonder, since he came up mentored by the incomparable Jimmy Smith. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, he also was all over local players such as Don Patterson and Hank Marr.

Tony began on the accordion at age 8 and then fell in love with the organ after hearing recordings by Smith, at age 12. For his 16th birthday, Smith called Tony, and Tony studied with him for four years. Then Smith asked him to play with him at his California club. From 1980 to 2006, Tony was diverted on his road to playing. He worked at his family's Monaco's Palace Italian Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, and played in the lounge.

He also attended Franklin University and graduated in 1989. Then he went to work as the supervisor of Monaco Concrete, since his father needed a good manager and Tony's three daughters were nearing college age. He finally recorded as a leader in 2000, releasing Burnin' Grooves. Nearly dozen albums followed.

Over and Over (Chicken Coup), his new one released this week, is his finest album to date. Every single clip is electrifying and will send your legs and hands moving. At least that's what happened to me each time I gave a listen over the past few weeks. Wait until you hear the rest of the group—guitarist Zakk Jones, who has an early-1970s soul-funk flavor, and drummer Reggie Jackson, who knows how to snap the snare and kick the bass. What a dream trio. 

The tracks, all Tony originals:
  • Da Daddy
  • One for Pat (Martino)
  • My Lil' Rosie Girl
  • Over and Over (I Want You)
  • Ready Set Go
  • Sailboat
  • Uprooted
When Tony isn't gigging and recording, he's educating students as Artist in Residence at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Lucky students. An entire generation of Monaco-style organists must be poised to leave Hope in the coming years. I can't wait! For now, Over and Over is a must own.

JazzWax clips: Here's Da Daddy...

Here's My Lil' Rosie Girl...

And here's Ready Set Go...

Bonus: Here's Tony a month ago live at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis with his trio—Derek DiCinzo on guitar and Reggie Jackson on drums...

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.

Track Listing

Da Daddy, One for Pat (Martino), My Lil' Rosie Girl, Over and Over (I Want You), Ready Set Go, Sailboat, Uprooted.


Tony Monaco
organ, Hammond B3
Zakk Jones
guitar, electric

Album information

Title: Over and Over | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Chicken Coup Records





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