Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tony Adamo-Vocal Talents of a Superior Singer

A Review By: Edward Blanco, Ejazznews

Bay area vocalist Tony Adamo garnished a five star rating from Smoothjazz.com for his latest release, "Straight Up Deal." However, there's a lot more to the smooth jazz sound found on this recording than what they would have you believe. Tony Adamo, equipped with a deep baritone voice, belts out some real gyrating funk, R&B;and soulful jazz tunes on this fourteen piece CD, which also includes a selection of straight ahead beautiful contemporary jazz vocals.

Adamo records the album with nineteen players among them, funk bassist Paul Jackson, saxophone great Ernie Watts and trumpeter Eddie Henderson. He also enlists the help of The Tower of Power Horns which appear on five tracks.

As I previously alluded to, the music is quite varied with three of the first four tracks firmly grounded in the funk genre ("No Strings," "Passport," and "Up In It"). Ernie Watts showcases his sax on the R&B;-shaded "In The Winelight," while Adamo gets jazzy on the first straight jazz number in "Milestones," with the trumpet voice of Eddie Henderson setting the pace.

Tunes like "Autumn Leaves," "Wouldn't You," "Stolen Moments," and "Speak Low" fall in the smooth jazz side of the music where Adamo shines singing beautiful lyrics from some great standards. One of my favorite numbers is the spunky and lively "Lolita" featuring the Tower of Power Horns.

"Straight Up Deal" reveals the vocal talents of a superior singer who is able to convey the essence of different musical styles with ease and grace. An album that will obviously appeal to a broad audience considering the varied selection of music on this disc. I enjoyed the album; it was truly a "Straight Up Deal" from Tony Adamo.

Tony Adamo-Think Lou Reed but funkified

A Review By: Sandy Shore, smoothjazz.com
TONY ADAMO Straight Up Deal Urbanzone Records - GETS FIVE STARS

For those who haven't experienced it...there's a mystique to the San Francisco bay area at night. It's unique to the 'City by the Bay.' Over the years many artists have captured this vibrant, earthy electricity and stuck it in the middle of their music regardless of genre.

Santana, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Tower of Power come to mind...and a whole handful of jazz greats. Bay area singer/songwriter Tony Adamo fits perfectly in this fray with his deep, sultry, commanding voice and grasp for groove. Think Lou Reed but funkified. Tony began writing during his tour of duty in the Gulf War (the first one). The 15-hour workdays were exhausting, but the artist found the exotic scenery enticing and incorporated his poetry writing skills into song ideas by writing about the desert. A poet at heart, Tony Adamo presents some beautiful originals here. He writes with his long time collaborator Jerry Stucker who is also responsible for producing Tony's recordings. Jerry actually has an original on this recording as well, a cool sensual tune called "Midnight Cafe." Another Adamo/Stucker original is the anthem to Tower of Power's Doc Kupka (who is featured on bari sax) "Groove Therapy." You'll also find some really intriguing covers such as "In The Winelight," the late Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and the Miles Davis penned "Milestones." First call musicians are on board making for a sonically stellar recording including Ernie Watts, Paul Jackson, James Gadson and Neil Larsen. STRAIGHT UP DEAL is just that! www.myspace.com/tonrocadamo

Tony Adamo-Think Lou Rawls fronting Tower of Power

Review By Stuart Hamilton- Amazon.co.uk

Jazz vocalist Tony Adamo has taken a sideways step with his latest CD, moving into a world of late night New Orleans style funk, rhythm and Blues, despite its origins in the plastic world of Hollywood, California. The first thing that leaps out you is the voice. Imagine, if you can, Lou Rawls fronting Tower of Power, and you'll have an idea of where the music offered up here is coming from. And it's a mighty fine place to be, especially on the self penned material which just pulses with late night grooves.

With a punchy horn section blowing in all the right places and a funky rhythm section hitting all the right beats, the topping of Neil Larsens organ is just icing on the cake. Actually, I've just been reading the credits and not only is Groove Therapy one of the highlights but it actually features the legendary Doc Kupka from Tower of Power blowing baritone sax on a tribute to - Doc Kupka! So, looks like that "Lou Rawls fronting Tower of Power" statement I made earlier may be right on the mark. The album also features an appearance by another legend in the shape of Paul Jackson, bass guitarist from Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters.

Although Adamo does sometimes slip into pure jazz, it's when he sticks to the sultry and sweaty grooves of Joe Zawinul's Mercy Mercy Mercy and his own No Strings, Lolita and the aforementioned Groove Therapy that he really makes his mark. The album does veer around a bit in style and flavour, which is slightly to its detriment as the ballads, in particular, miss the mark. It actually would have been a better album shorn of the two closing numbers Stolen Moments and Speak Low, which drift away rather than finishing with a killer blow. But the vocals and performances do make it worth a listen, especially when that irresistible groove kicks in. www.myspace.com/tonyrocadamo