TONY ROMANO — Three Chord Monte (review)

TONY ROMANO — Three Chord Monte album cover Album · 2024 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
js
Although “Three Chord Monte” is only his third album as a leader, guitarist Tony Romano has been working as a sideman for sometime with jazz, Latin and pop artists such as Randy Brecker, Dave Valentin, Joe Bataan, Stanley Jordan and even Debbie Gibson. He can also be heard on many TV soundtracks as well. Tony wrote all of the material on this album and he enlisted Jennifer Vincent on bass and Rob Garcia on drums to help him out. Saxophonist Paul Carlon shows up on about half of the songs as well. Tony cites Bill Frisell as a major influence which will be obvious to those who know Bill’s work, but you can also hear some John Scofield in some of Romano’s funky riffing and contemporary melodic style.

The album opens strong with the Afrobeat groove of “Cadillac Green”, on which you can hear drummer Rob Garcia’s appreciation for Fela’s long time drummer, Tony Allen. As Romano builds his solo he digs into some hardcore Prince style funk riffs, this one is a scorcher. Later on the album, “Lay it Down”, re-visit’s the Tony Allen Afrobeat drive. The Frisell influence shows up on several melodic ballads, the best of which is “Home”, because this one gives Tony more room to stretch out on a solo. The band gets into their jazzy post bop thing on a couple numbers and “Onward and Upward” features some of sax man Paul Carlon’s best work. Romano’s extensive work in Latin jazz shows up on a couple tracks and “Squirrelly” gets into some bluesy RnB with a New Orleans backline beat. All of the tracks are well composed and executed with imagination, but for my money, I would love to hear Tony get into some more of that groovy Afrobeat thang.
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