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Strokeland Records

Strokeland Jazz is proud to welcome TONY ADAMO's new CD, "WHAT IS HIP?". On this follow-up to his 2007 release, "STRAIGHT UP DEAL" , Adamo shows a maturity and depth that puts him firmly at the top in his trademark cool-jazz style.

Recorded and mixed at some of the finest studios in the world, including Capitol Records in Hollywood, the audio quality is absolutely stunning. The songs benefit from the expert ears of Grammy-winning engineer and producer, AL SCHMITT, along with other world-class engineers and producers, including ERIK ZOBLER, ED CHERNEY, and JERRY STUCKER. Not content to merely cover classic songs by TOWER OF POWER, the BEATLES, and other great artists, producer JERRY STUCKER guides the project with class and creativity to turn these songs into something completely new, yet comfortably familiar.

The recording of the song “What is Hip” on Adamo's new CD came from a suggestion made by the legendary horn player and Tower of Power co-founder, STEPHEN 'DOC' KUPKA.  During a recording session with Adamo and his producer/guitarist, JERRY STUCKER, Doc suggested several TOP songs that Adamo might want to cover. 

Adamo chose “What is Hip” and “This Time it’s Real.”   Kupka, along with jazz great EDDIE HENDERSON hold up the horn section on “Hip.”  In the re-grooved “This Time It’s Real,” MIC GILLETTE, funk icon in his own right, wrote the horn arrangement and plays trumpet and trombone along with TOP member TOM E. POLITZER on tenor sax.  Politzer plays tenor sax with Doc Kupka on bari sax.

Talk about a kool struttin’ and soul funkin’ sound.  Adamo is deep in the groove on these two Tower of Power hits.  Producer/guitarist Jerry Stucker loaded up the WHAT IS HIP CD with big city cool.  Some of these great players include: MIKE CLARK (drums), STEVE GADD (drums), JAMES GADSON (drums), REGGIE McBRIDE (bass), RICHIE GOODS (bass), FREDDIE WASHINGTON (bass), BILL SUMMERS (percussion), ROBERT QUINTANA (percussion), BLACKBYRD McKNIGHT (guitar), JERRY STUCKER (guitar), NEIL LARSEN (organ/piano), RODNEY FRANKLIN (piano), MELECIO MAGDALUYO (tenor sax/flute), HENRY HUNG (trumpet/trombone), and SANDY GRIFFITH (background vocals).

Can you dig Adamo’s new conception of voice n’ funk with an infectious slice of soul?  Get hip to WHAT IS HIP and be “souled” on the thirteen songs on his new CD.


"Tony Adamo has a voice that sounds like what you would get if you put Dr. John, Lou Rawls, and Mark Murphy into a bomb shelter with a mad scientist and presented him the challenge of harmonizing their voices into one. After a few experiments in blending, I believe the final version would sound exactly like Tony Adamo. His voice is ultra-cool and makes you feel cool just listening to the red hot jazz funk with a heavy dose of groove he is laying down. On his new album, What Is Hip? He creates a standard of great music that raises the bar high above the heads of the followers in this genre."
"Tony’s version of the Tower of Power classic “What is Hip” is on fire. It is amazingly cool and funked up beatnik style. He has picked the perfect song for his voice to cover here and knocks it out of the park and into another park where it immediately scores a grand slam. Anyone who covers this song needs to listen to this and think about what they are going to do and if they can push the bar higher than Tony has.   “Nine Miles of Blues” opens perfectly with an organ that only makes Tony’s voice sound cool and smooth like frozen vodka bite size ice cubes. The horns that bring up the background are just enough and never overshadow as some horns can."

"Covering the Beatles is like walking in quicksand with lead filled snow shoes, most who try never make it across. Tony takes a stab at the walk with a cover of “Eleanor Rigby”. It works because Tony doesn’t take the standard route in covering a song. He reinterprets this song with a rocked up jazzy vibe that doesn’t come across as a cover version but instead comes across as simply another version. Tony makes it across the quicksand by simply being cool enough to be himself. “Rio De Janerio Blues” is like a cool breeze as you sit on the balcony of a beautiful house that looks out onto a perfect sunset gently going into the ocean. It is so relaxing and laidback with its hints of organ and whispered backup vocals that just invite you to pull your hat down a bit lower and let your mind drift away. This album is made for relaxing and just feeling good about your ability to hear. You’ve heard of brain food, well this is ear food and feel free to help yourself to seconds."

4-1/2 STARS

-- Doug Morrissey- Staff– February 21, 2011