One of the great things about Tony Adamo
is that you just can’t peg him down. He’s part vocalist, poet, street preacher, hip uncle, but above all, a jazzer with a grooving heart. On this album, he lays down the jazz laws of life’s observations with the highly funkified team that includes legendary drummer Mike Clark
along with Jack Wilkins
, Mike LeDonne
, Donald Harrison
, Tim Ouimette
and various other cats who sit in for some snapping beats.
Adamo’s voice is husky and his delivery is like a carney at the county fair, but instead of selling rides or Vegematics, he tells stories in the Tom Waits vein with a clever phrase and twist of a rhyme, with irresistible beats and ricochet shots by the band as on “Rain Man” or the chunky swamp fest of “Let the Devil Pay My Way.” Lenny White takes the band to hi-hat heaven with the horns as Adamo is a soulful weatherman on “Gale Blowin’ High” and Clark sets the traps like he’s going to catch some Grizz on “Boogaloo the Funky Beat.” Jack Wilkins bends the strings like their chiropractic patients on the bluesy story “I’m Out The Door” as Adamo weaves between speaking, a Slam Stewart-styled swinging and avuncular admonishments.
Adamo loves a good yarn, and material like “General T.” and “Birth of the Cool” are spun out like a cat is toying with them, all with a vibe that shakes his Bay Area home like the 1906 earthquake. Check out this one, and hope he cruises into town in his V8.
—George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly