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Tony Adamo Vocal/Hipspoken Word Artist Is Reviewed By Ed Kopp Of Jazziz magazine/Fall issue

Tony Adamo and the New York Crew
(Urban Zone)
“Hipspokenword” artist Tony Adamo
comes across as a
combination of Gil
Scott Heron and
Maynard G. Krebs
— a bohemian
wordsmith strongly
influenced by Jack
Kerouac and the ‘50s
beat poets. Adamo’s fifth release features a
crack all-star band playing hard bop behind
the leader’s ultra-cool monologues, most of
which are spoken and a couple, sung. All are
laced with terms such as “hip,” “happenin’”
and “dig it.” Adamo is like a beatnik who’s
arrived 60 years late, but his music really
swings and his words celebrate jazz as a
kind of urban-life philosophy.
The San Francisco native conceived of
his breathy jazz rap while stationed in the
Middle East as a Navy weapons handler
during the Gulf War. And he delivers his
clever lyrics like the hipster radio announc-
er he once was.
Although much of Adamo’s past music
has been funk-oriented, his new album
features crisp straightahead jazz with
free-jazz touches. The superb New York Crew
comprises pianist Michael Wolff, drummer
Mike Clark, alto saxman Donald Harrison,
trumpeter Tim Ouimette, bassist Richie
Goods and percussionist Bill Summers.
Drummer Lenny White and guitarist Jean
C. Santalis also appear on one track apiece.
Adamo, Ouimette and Clark co-wrote most
of the music, while the lyrics are all Adamo’s.
“City Swings” portrays New York as a
swinging, breathing jazz hub. Other tunes
honor jazz luminaries such as Sun Ra trum-
peter Eddie Gale (“Gale Blowin High”), Eddie
Harris (“Listen Here Listen Up”) and a slew
of artists on “Messengers Burnin.” Another
highlight, the noirish “Picasso at Midnight,”
depicts the painter as an undercover jazz
trumpeter in Paris during the ‘50s.
Adamo’s performance won’t be ev-
erybody’s cup of tea. But, like the Village
Vanguard regular he describes in “General
T.,” Adamo’s words “have a kick-snare, hi-hat
pattern to them,” inducing “motions of
wordplay on top of his spoken-word kinetic
sounds.” Far out, man. —Ed Kopp

Tony Roc Adamo's photo.

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