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Tony Adamo: Tony Adamo & The New York Crew

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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Some wit once quipped that when you go to Heaven, you hear the voice of God—who is actually imitating the late, great "movie trailer guy," Don LaFontaine. If that's so, for those jazzers entering the Heavenly corner reserved for bereted hipsters and late-night flipsters, Big G must assuredly be trying to cop Tony Adamo.

Now let's get this out at Bar One: Adamo, like Beluga caviar, is indeed and in deed an acquired taste. The prophet and proponent of "hipspokenword," his is a unique oral gumbo of supremely involving lyric, funky jazz talk, historical tilt, cultural commentary, and no-jive lingo. And on this effort, it is all infectiously served up over a bed of meticulously played white-hot jazz.

With Tony Adamo and the New York Crew, Adamo and his mates follow up his terrific Miles of Blu (2013, Random Act Records) and take things to an even hipper, higher performance level. This gang soars brilliantly across eleven selections that offer this rhapsode's poignant urban-hip Apple-jacked-up spoke-sung stuff, backed by a killer quintet. This is high-energy fruit that kicks tail right off with Adamo riffing on free jazz stalwart, Eddie Gale ("Gale Blowin High"). And, the intensity doesn't ever let up for ten more tracks, yo.

As hip and talented as Adamo is, the supporting ensemble is as muscular and swinging as its leader. Drummer Mike Clark, he of Headhunters fame, pushes this group rhythmically to extremes. Pianist Michael Wolff stretches out neatly at every corner and bassist Richie Goods drives things like a mad trainman. The front line horns of saxophonist Donald Harrison and trumpeter Tim Ouimette (who wrote the music and horn charts) are as swinging, funky and free as the Big Apple itself ("Buddhist Blues" "To Bop or Not to Be"). They cook hotter and with more intensity than a roomful of Cul-school white hats.

Adamo's "hipspokenword" street-seasoned lyrics and jazzman salutes emanate from his ballsy baritone and his hard, hard swing is narco-addictive ("Mama's Meat Pies" "Wisdom of Oz"). There's power and truth being dealt when this cat lets fur fly ("Picasso at Midnite," here told over Ouimette's solid free cries and Clark's fireworks). The addition of Eddie Harris's "Listen Here" complete with Harrison's blow and Adamo's vocal lines and the Art Blakey acknowledgement, "Messengers Burnin,' would have a subway rodent grab his lid, come up and see the light and head non-stop to catch the late show at the Blue Note.

Tony Adamo and the New York Crew is a romp—a fascinating and swinging vision seen through the hippest and most talented of Ray-Bans. Double dig?

Track Listing: Gale Blowin High; City Swings, Buddhist Blues; You Gotta B Fly; Mama's Meat Pies; To Bop or Not to Be; Picasso at Midnite; Wisdom of Oz; Listen Here Listen Up; General T; Messengers Burnin

Personnel: Tony Adamo: vocals, hipspokenword; Mike Clark: drums; Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Tim Ouimette: trumpet;Michael Wolff: piano; Richie Goods: bass; Lenny White: drums (1); Bill Summers: percussion (1,4,5);Jean C. Santalis: guitar (4).

Title: Tony Adamo & The New York Crew | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Urbanzone Records


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