First Listen: Tony Adamo takes to "MidNite" his own way

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    Photo courtesy of Tony Adamo Facebook page

    (March 18, 2022) HipSpokenWord pioneer Tony Adamo is an acquired taste for some. Difficult to categorize, he is a one man amalgamation of times and styles gone by, a combination of the jazz hounds and the beatniks, of urban landscapes of sound that didn’t come together until long after the “respectable” clubs closed on Saturday nights. That is the world in which Adamo’s music resides, and where he transports his listeners on his too-infrequent releases.

    Adamo’s spoken word pieces are encyclopedias of the hip and the obscure, even as they typically ride over more recognizable jazz arrangements. But that familiar musical underpinning takes a left turn on his newest single, “Better Than Picasso at MidNite.”

    (March 18, 2022) HipSpokenWord pioneer Tony Adamo is an acquired taste for some. Difficult to categorize, he is a one man amalgamation of times and styles gone by, a combination of the jazz hounds and the beatniks, of urban landscapes of sound that didn’t come together until long after the “respectable” clubs closed on Saturday nights. That is the world in which Adamo’s music resides, and where he transports his listeners on his too-infrequent releases.

    Adamo’s spoken word pieces are encyclopedias of the hip and the obscure, even as they typically ride over more recognizable jazz arrangements. But that familiar musical underpinning takes a left turn on his newest single, “Better Than Picasso at MidNite.”

    Rather than relying on a typical jazz quartet sound, Adamo takes a stylistic leap, opening the track with a 120 BPM four-on-the-floor dance beat over Chris Pimentel’s jangly electric guitar, providing a more forceful, immediate backdrop for Adamo’s message.

    That aggressive landscape works, as Adamo spits a stream of rapid-fire staccato phrases, ironically rapping insistently about how the legendary sounds and artists of the jazz canon – great as they are – still fall short of the best experience: that of falling in love.

    Better than four sets of Dizzy
    Better than Count Basie’s band
    Better than Rollins and Coltrane
    Better than being on the stand.

    This brilliant disguise of a love song is pure Adamo. And while fans may be taken aback by the popping dance opening of the song, the track ultimately moves into more familiar territory, as Adamo gives Pimentel and saxman Rob Sudduth (Huey Lewis & The News) room to improvise into a second half with clearer jazz roots. It all works, even if the listener sweats a bit more than anticipated.

    The first release on Adamo’s own Saint Jaz Records, “Better Than Picasso At MidNite” continues Mr. A's mission of making his own unique brand of music; bringing his fans along for a ride that is often unexpected, but never boring.

    By Chris Rizik

    Tony Adamo
    "Better Than Picasso At MidNite"

     
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