Tony Adamo’s Music Reviewed By’s Stuart Hamilton

Review By: Stuart Hamilton

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.
Tony Adamo - Straight Up Deal

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.

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