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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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TONY ADAMO and
the NEW YORK CREW

URBAN ZONE RECORDS
NO NUMBER

 

 

Gale Blowin High

City Swings

Buddhist Blues

You Gotta B Fly

Mama's Meat Pies

To Bop or Not to Be

Picasso at Midnite

Wisdom of Oz

Listen Here Listen Up

General T

Messengers Burnin


Tony Adamo (vocal hipspokenword) ; Mike Clark (drums); Donald Harrison: (alto saxophone); Tim Ouimette (trumpet); Michael Wolff (piano); Richie Goods (bass); Lenny White (drums (1)); Bill Summers (percussion (1,4,5)) ;Jean C. Santalis (guitar (4))

URBAN ZONE RECORDS NO NUMBER [50:58]


To those unfamiliar with him Tony Adamo is an exponent of the art of vocal hipspokenword, a compound noun so Germanic it should be bottled and sold over the counter. But what is it exactly? Simply what it says: hip or jive talk over a searing bop-drenched band with lyrics so achingly with-it that they will either grab or repel. If Eric Gale is the focus on Gale Blowin High, Adamo also runs through other stars in the firmament, providing a parlando introduction to the music, accompanied by a wailing alto solo from Donald Harrison. The Hard Bop ethos is convincingly deployed throughout by The New York Crew, though Adamo comes close to sounding parodic – the image of a comedic jazz-hipster swivelling on a bar stool and blowing smoke rings into the foetid air of a downtown club is one that all too often comes to mind, often accompanied by the tell-tale drawled Adamo ‘maaan’.

The slow Buddhist Blues (pronounced ‘Boodist’ by Adamo) is festooned by a series of ‘ha ha has’ and the digging of concepts – at least we get no down-home digging of potatoes, as that would be an image too raw for comfort. Once again Harrison is the star turn on alto. Hip talk is often only as good as it’s witty; Adamo is often so garralous and predictable – Picasso the Modernist (been there, done that 70 years ago) - that he seems stuck in a groove. The several mini-précis of Bop history are clearly sincerely meant but they all too often get in the way of the instrumentalists. I’d have preferred to have heard more of trumpeter Tim Quimette, for example, and guitarist Jean Santalis. Perhaps it’s best to play one track at a time.

Jonathan Woolf



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