Did you order it? Somebody ordered the party platter, because B3 maestro Tony Monaco is delivering. His music is for all intents and purposes a celebration. With The Definition of Insanity, a reference to doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, he confesses to be under the influence of the same mania as the legends Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, Reuben Wilson, Richard "Groove" Holmes, and Jimmy McGriff. If this man is insane, I say we spread a bit of his madness into these demented times.
Monaco doesn't stick to a strictly soul-jazz program, but everything he plays here is infused with a profound soulfulness. Opening with a cool run through the Phish tune "Cars Trucks Buses," his quartet circles the jam-band school with guitarist Derek DiCenzo's jangly notes and the Orleans swing of drummer Tony McClung. Monaco intends to take us through an assortment of emotions during this party. He shifts into Lee Morgan's bossa nova with "Ceora," then pulls the rug out with "Root Down," which fans of the Beastie Boys will instantly recognize from their recording Ill Communication (Grand Royal, 1994). The music was actually sampled from Jimmy Smith's 1972 composition "Root Down (and Get It)." Monaco's version, with the funk spread thick by DiCenzo, give a nod to the Boys, but retains the feel of Smith's version. Head swimming by now (and it should be), Monaco shifts into the (often considered banal) Italian pop tune "Quando Quando Quando." Like much of Monaco's party music, he can inject life into a corny corpse. Even the Grateful Dead's (imagine Jeffrey Lebowski telling his cab driver, "I've had a rough day and I hate the Dead") "Truckin'" rallies with a certain glint that satisfies both the jazzbo and neo-hippie.
But, it ain't a party unless Monaco delivers a sermon. Here, we get three vocals by the organist. "Never Let Me Go" adds piano by Asako Monaco, Tony's wife. The Leon Russell classic "A Song For You" is delivered with Monaco playing some piano then organ, and on the traditional Neapolitan song "Non Ti Scordare Di Me," he adds accordion to his vocals. Bravo maestro, bravo.
Cars Trucks Buses; Ceora; Root Down; Never Let Me Go; Quando Quando Quando; Non Ti Scordare Di Me; Awa Athar;
Last Date; Truckin’; Triste; A Song for You.
Tony Monaco: Hammond B3 organ, piano, accordion, vocals; Derek DiCenzo: guitar; Tony McClung: drums; Asako Monaco:
piano (trk. 4).
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.