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  • Jonathan Widran

TONY MONACO, Over and Over

Several decades and 13 albums into his multi-faceted career, Columbus, OH based Hammond B-3 master Tony Monaco is still a voracious seeker of exciting soul-jazz inspiration. Most often, as with the alternately coolly brooding and boisterous/rambunctious “One for Pat (Martino) from his latest epic trio based collection Over and Over, he gets it from the heroes he’s played with (like the famed guitarist for three years) or been mentored by, like the Jimmy Smith-influenced super-hoppin’, speedy-paced romp “Ready Set Go,” which offers brilliant solo showcases for Zakk Jones’s crackling electric guitar and Reggie Jackson’s relentless drum inventiveness.

The tasty Smith vibe is also in the funky, jangling DNA of the high octane eight minute closer “Uprooted,” which serves as a freewheeling crescendo for Monaco’s first ever set of all original material. Other tunes on Over and Over have unique musical roots as well, starting with the immediately impactful, dancing and grooves of “Da Daddy,” a contrafact of Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar” featuring a colorful new melody over the familiar chords.

Likewise, the sultry and sexy, Latin-tinged “Sailboat” draws thematically and aesthetically from Brazilian composer Roberto Menescal’s timeless “My Little Boat.” One of the most endearing pieces, the lighthearted, free-spirited “My Lil’ Rosie Girl” was written for one of Monaco’s beloved cats, whose strutting energy and attitude is captured by the hypnotic organ chords and Jones’ intricate and improvisational lines. Which leads us to one of the most unconventional inspirations ever with the title track “Over and Over (I Want You).”

Perhaps the overall whimsy and the burning solos should clue us in that this is not a love song by someone who wants to be with their companion over and over. But learning its true inspiration is a hoot – Monaco came up with the title after a relentless phone scammer kept call him, yep, over and over. Needless to say, you’ll want to listen to this remarkable album at least that many times!


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