Tony Adamo's sonorous voice has a Lou Rawls-like vibrato. A former radio announcer, now a singer and songwriter. Tower of Power member Mic Gillette introduced him to Stephen Doc" Kupka, co-founder of Tower of Power and owner of Strokeland Records.
That was the start of a great friendship and a fertile collaboration. Over the next years they recorded Dance of Love (2002), Straight Up Deal (2007) and now What is Hip?.
The lineup consists of Tony Adamo (vocals), Mike Clark (drums), Bill Summers (percussion), Sandy Griffith (background vocals), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Richie Goods (bass), Neil Larsen (organ), and Jerry Stucker (guitar). Eddie Henderson in the horn section and Doc Kupka (baritone sax). Steve Gadd appears as guest musician.
The album kicks off with Cold Duck Time (Groove On Line), A jazz standard by the late saxophonist Eddie Harris (1969), which the legendary Al Jarreau already performed on his album Accentuate the Positive. Tony Adamo proves that there are more singers under the sun able to fill this song with life.
Rhythm Of Your Love is Tony's postulate of love. With strong and still caressing words he describes the aim of his longing. A crooner of special kind. Tony intensifies Grover Washington Jr.'s song Make Me A Memory with his lyrics and changes the character of the tune to his own style. Jerry Stucker replaces the sax with a brilliant guitar line.
Doc" Kupka who co-wrote What is Hip? with Emilio Castillo said: I love Tony's version! He evokes the beatnik-bongo days of my youth and gives a whole new slant to a hard-charging funk tune. Congrats to both Tony Adamo and Jerry Stucker!" But we should also add Eddie Henderson (trumpet) and the whole team to these merits. A really terrific song!
Ecstasy is a popular drug, but when Tony is on his trip, then it's a personal love journey. Tony Adamo gives the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby a new direction. Guitarist Blackbyrd McKnight plays lead on the song. Yeah. That is the power of rock!
Tony Adamo pulls Randy Crawford's airy Rio De Janeiro Blue down to the ground and gives the melody an earthy timbre. Smokey Robinson wrote in January '64 the hooky tune The Way You Do The Things You Do for the Temptations, their first hit and the rest is history. Tony serves his dirty gritty version.
On Love Don't Get Tony Adamo sounds the depth of love. Calling is another heartfelt love ballade of this exceptional crooner. On the moody Nine Miles Of Blue Adamo reflects about a love grown cold. Hypnotizing, mesmerizingAdamo dives into the deep water of love and conjures the mystery of love.
The album ends with a fresh rendition of Tower of Power's This Time It's Real. Funky and powerful supported by the finest horns.
Tony Adamo's What is Hip? is a professionally crafted album with high energy. With Adamo's special charm Funk is a delightful fruit.