Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tony Adamo and What Is Hip? is old school turned new cool! Funky is as funky does! 5 Stars

Tony Adamo and What Is Hip? is old school turned new cool! Funky is as funky does! Brent Black / What is hip? Indeed... The standard rule of thumb would be that what is hip is best defined by the style of the time. After being the first critic to shed a much needed and well deserved light on his latest release Miles of Blu, Tony Adamo makes hippness a zen like state of mind. To paraphrase the great musical philosopher Frank Zappa, "You are what you is." What is Hip? could easily be considered a perfect book end to Miles of Blu. This 2011 release is a most righteous hybrid of rock, soul, funk with improvisational vocal style that is a smoldering groove. Is it new? No...It isn't supposed to be. What Is Hip? revitalizes the old school sound of say Muscle Shoals meets Tower of Power with a modern twist and straight ahead direction that makes the end result a unique mirror image of one the hippest people I personally know on the planet being Adamo. One of my greatest influence as a critic, Robert Hilburn from the Los Angeles Times once said you never become friends with an artist unless you are working on some sort of project together just in case you have to be the bearer of bad news one day. Those that get me know that my philosophy has always been you work your side of the street and I'll work mine. Tony Adamo is cut from a similar cloth, he is just presented his contribution his way and with his own style and it doesn't get any more real than that. Notable contributions here include, "Cold Duck Time" along with "What Is Hip?" and "Nine Miles Of Blue." Tony Adamo is never going to win male vocalist of the year and that may be one of the many reasons this release pops so well straight out of the gate. Perhaps guest artists such as Steve Gadd and members of the Tower of Power horn section along with long time friend in drummer/producer Mike Clark help give you that winning edge but talent always wins out. What is Hip? is an entertaining and seriously soulful romp through some righteous tunes with a set of A list musicians banging out a groove you can use. Tony Adamo is indeed hip! Tracks: Cold Duck Time; Rhythm Of Your Love; Make Me A Memory; What Is Hip?; Ecstasy; Eleanor Rigby; Rio De Janeiro Blue; The Way You Do The Things You Do; Love Don't Get; Calling; Nine Miles Of Blue; Mystery; This Time It's Real. Personnel: Tony Adamo: Vocal/Hip Spoken Word; Steve Gadd: Drums; Reggie McBride: Bass; Neil Larsen: Organ; Jerry Stucker: Guitar, Midi Programming; Robert Quintana: Percussion; Melecio Magdaluyo: Sax; Sandy Griffith: Background Vocals; James Gadsen: Drums; Rodney Franklin: Piano; Kenneth Nash: Percussion; Skip Mesquite: Sax; Mic Gillette: Trombone; Henry Hung: Trumpet/ Trombone; Mike Clark: Drums; Richie Goods: Bass; Bill Summers: Percussion; Stephen Doc Kupka: Bari Sax; Eddie Henderson: Trumpet; Blackbyrd McKnight: Guitar; John Costalupes: Bass.

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