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Tony Adamo: Was Out Jazz Zone Mad

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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The translation of "Adam" from Hebrew—from which the surname Adamo springs—means from the "ground" or "soil." It also derives from the Hebrew word for red, a la "red clay." Perhaps that is why any work from Tony Adamo is rare earth—gritty, and flaming crimson. Was Out Jazz Zone Mad Adamo's latest, his first for Ropeadope, is all of those things and more.

Adamo is the Heavyweight Champion of "hipspokenword," wherein lingo meets vocalizing at the corner of jazz and funk. The opener, "Rain Man," is pure hard-funk with Adamo percolating over a fierce B3 groove laid down by Tower of Power's Roger Smith. It is arguably the strongest track on a session of many fine cuts. "Sonic Henderson" is a straight-ahead cooker with Adamo spewing forth brilliant lyrics about the legendary saxman. "B.B. King's Blues" offers a down-home ass-shaking shuffle with Adamo story-telling over the solid ensemble behind him.

Adamo is a marvelously versatile and engaging talent. His originals here all shine with hip-sassed lyrics delivered with pungency and flair. No wallflower, he's an in-your-face artist, a storyteller in the best oral jazz tradition. His inflections are infectious and his approach to time and lyric are those of a mad wizard genius. He is one of a kind.

"Birth of the Cool" (with "Giant Steps" bridge changes) is pulsating sing-speak with Jazz Hall of Fame names flowing ad infinitum. "General T" is an intense salute to the great Leon Thomas. "Boogaloo the Funky Beat" has Adamo singing Apollo Theater-like over a Famous Flame groove. Ditto "Let the Devil Pay My Way" and "Card Dealer." The fierce-driving "Gale Blowin' High" tells of free jazz sparkplug, Eddie Gale. "Too Funky to Flush" is a gastronomic salute to NOLA and its soulful cuisine. "I'm Out the Door" is a sayonara tune somewhat reminiscent of that done by Oscar Brown. The funky tale, "Fly Jump or Die" closes the intense session.

Guitarist Jack Wilkins offers up terrific solo rides as do the various organists (there are a few). Their Hammonds are an Atlas of funk and the drummers led by frequent Adamo collaborator Mike Clark all drive.

Adamo is definitely on to something with Was Out Jazz Zone Mad. No doubt, he is an acquired, but enthralling, taste. Then again, be there anyone who doesn't love five-alarm fare? It's great for the soul.

Track Listing: Rain Man; Sonic Henderson; B.B. King Blues Oh Fire; Birth Of The Cool; General T; Boogaloo The Funky Beat; Card Dealer; Gale Blowin High; To Funky To Flush; Jax Bulldog Priest; I'm Out The Door; Let The Devil Pay My Way; Fly Jump Or Die.

Personnel: Mike Clark: drums; Donald Harrison: saxophone; Bill Summers: percussion; Lenny White: drums; Michael Wolff: piano; Richie Goods: bass; Tim Ouimette: trumpet; Mike LeDonne: organ; Jack Wilkins: guitar; Delbert Bump: organ; Elias Lucero: gutiar; Roger Smith: keyboards; Kyron Kirby: drums.

Title: Was Out Jazz Zone Mad | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Ropeadope Records

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