TONY MONACO — The Definition Of Insanity

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3.50 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 2019

Filed under Soul Jazz
By TONY MONACO

Tracklist

01. Cars Trucks Buses (6:33)
02. Ceora (6:31)
03. Root Down (7:14)
04. Never Let Me Go (4:52)
05. Quando Quando Quando (4:31)
06. Non Ti Scordar Di Me (3:14)
07. Awa Athar (7:04)
08. Last Date (4:58)
09. Truckin' (7:38)
10. Triste (5:21)
11. A Song for You (6:18)

Line-up/Musicians

Tony Monaco: Hammond, Piano, Accordion & Voice
Derek DiCenzo: Guitar
Tony McClung: Drums
Asako Monaco: Piano (Never Let Me Go)

About this release

Chicken Coup Records CCP7028 (US)

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates

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TONY MONACO THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
If there is one musical genre I would not have expected to make a comeback, soul jazz would be that one, and that goes double for Hammond B3 soul jazz. Much like cool jazz and bebop, soul jazz seemed terminally connected to the era that spawned it, and the B3 itself became terribly un-hip during the 80s and seemed destined to stay that way. You can thank both England’s acid jazz scene and changing tastes in US commercial jazz radio for opening the door for funky bluesy B3 jazz to return, but not necessarily in a nostalgic way, this music has managed to adjust and sound relevant and hip again. One deserving recipient of this revival is B3organist Tony Monaco who has just favored us with his 11th album as a leader, “The Definition of Insanity”. This is one helluva fun album, and if that sounds too glib or shallow I’m sorry, but I have been listening to this one a lot lately and it never fails to pick me up, it’s a kick and a half.

“The Definition of Insanity” is an extremely eclectic album, yet it all works. Tony usually includes some originals on his albums, but this time he decided to go mostly with covers and just one original, and that’s where much of the eclecticism comes from as Tony takes on tunes from Phish, Lee Morgan, The Grateful Dead, Floyd Cramer and even includes a classic Italian ballad. Tony cites organists Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes and Larry Goldings as influences, and all that comes through in his flashy blues drenched solos. Along with plenty of classic soul jazz, this album also covers, Latin, Middle-Eastern grooves, country and a couple vocal ballads too.

Some highlights on here include the driving energy of Phish’s “Cars Trucks Buses”, the contemporary groove of Jimmy Smith’s “Root Down” and the Grateful Dead’s “Truckin” which makes for an excellent soul jazz number. On Floyd Cramer’s country classic, “Last Date”, Tony manages to make the B3 imitate a steel guitar. A couple ballads feature Tony’s vocals which may remind some of Willie Nelson, and that is a good thing. There is a lively energy to this entire outing, during my initial listens I just assumed this was a live date, it certainly sounds like one. As I said earlier, this is a ‘fun’ album, and I definitely need something like this in my collection sometimes.

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