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Tony Monaco: Celebration : Life, Love, Music

This two-CD set showcases the fleet-fingered Hammond B3 maven Tony Monaco, who has worked in recent years with Pat Martino and gained notoriety in organ-group circles with six previous releases as a leader. Disc one features Monaco playing originals in a trio setting with drummer Jason Brown (his bandmate in Martino’s organ group) and saxophonist Ken Fowser. Stylistically, the tunes range from the hard-boppish, waltz-time opener, “Daddy-Oh,” to the blazing uptempo romp “Aglio e Olio” and the breezy, Latin-flavored “Happy Sergio.” The toe-tapper “Just Give Thanks and Praise” features Ohio gospel singer Mary McClendon and features Monaco testifying on the keys during his

passionate solo. “It’s Been So Nice to Be With You” is strictly old school, with certain allusions in timbre to pioneers like Milt Buckner and Jimmy Smith, and “I’ll Remember Jimmy” is a free-blowing hard-bop burner paying homage to Monaco’s main influence.

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