Jazz CD Reviews

Tony Monaco – Celebration – Life, Love, Music – 2-CD Ltd. Edition set, Chicken Coop

Tony Monaco, Celebration, Life, Love, Music, Summitt, B-3, Pat Martino, Chicken Coop Records

Published on August 7, 2012

Tony Monaco – Celebration – Life, Love, Music – 2-CD Ltd. Edition set, Chicken Coop

Tony Monaco – Celebration – Life, Love, Music – [TrackList follows] 2-CD Ltd. Edition set, Chicken Coop Records (Div. of Summit Records) CCP 7016, CD 1: 62 min., CD 2: 71 min. *****:

(Tony Monaco: organ, vocal; Jason Brown: drums; Joey DiFrancesco: organ; Derek Dicenzo: guitar; Ken Fowser: tenor saxophone; Asako Itoh: piano; Reggie Jackson: drums; Robert Kraut: guitar; Byron Landham: drums; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Mary McClendon: lead vocals; Sarah Morrow: trombone; Adam Nussbaum: drums; Ted Quinian: guitar; Kenny Rampton: trumpet; Vito Rezza: drums; Louis Tsamous: drums; Columbus Choir Singers: vocals)

To my ears Tony Monaco is an even more exciting B-3 player than the continual Downbeat winner Joey Francesco. After some global tours  with guitarist Pat Martino and drummer Jason Brown he’s back in the studio for this double-CD monster set – his first studio recording in six years. Brown stays with him for much of this set, and Monaco does some tracks without the guitar. Saxist Ken Fowser joins in, and for four of the tracks on the second CD Monaco plays with a power trio of Reggie Jackson on drums and Derek DiCenzo on guitar. It’s a sort of compilation of Monaco originals from some of his previous releases. A vocal is done by Asako Itoh on “You Rock My World” and the next track is a rollicking gospel number, “Just Give Thanks and Praise.” That one comes back at the end of the second CD for an all-instrumental version.

Other top names on Celebration include Joey DeFrancesco, Bruce Foreman, Donny McCaslin, and Tony himself also does a vocal. The tunes include some of the hits of Tony’s entire career at the B-3. The two CDs really do swing like mad and the whole shebang seems to clearly fit its title of Celebration. Should this one generate any interest in other Tony Monaco albums, you’re find at least seven previous ones on Summit Records.

CD1: Daddy Oh; Aglio e Olio; Indonesian Nights; Happy Sergio; Unresolved; You Rock My World (Asako); Just Give Thanks and Praise; Bull Years; Ninety Five; It’s Been So Nice To Be With You; I’ll Remember Jimmy; Called Love; To Be Continued.
CD2: Acid Wash; Backward Shack; Ya Bay BEE; Ashleen; Katarina’s Prayer; Pasta Faggioli; Takin’ My Time; Blues for T; Rudy and the Fox; Slow Down Sagg; Just Give Thanks and Praise.

—John Henry

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