Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tony Adamo Meets Tower Of Power Meets The Headhunters

By Scott Yanow
L.A Jazz Scene/ All Music Guide to Jazz/ The Jazz Singers

A new CD that has recently been recorded is being described as “Tony Adamo meets Tower of Power meets The Headhunters” set to be released in early 2012. This unique set teams together singer and spoken word artist Tony Adamo with drummer-producer Mike Clark, several members of the Headhunters and special guests. The drummer says of the project, “The three elements on the CD are rhythm and blues (we married some old ideas with some newer surprises), a heavy blues saturation and some straight ahead bebop. There is even some avant-garde music and a duet with drums and voice.”

In addition to Tony Adamo, the lineup of musicians include Rob Dixon on tenor, alto and keyboards, trumpeters Derrick Gardner and Pharez Whitted, guitarist-keyboardist Gary Mielke, organist Delbert Bump, guitarist Steve Homan, bassist Brett Palm, percussionist Bill Summers, Mike Clark on drums and co-founder of Tower of Power, Doc Kupka on bari sax.

The musical friendship of Adamo and Clark began about six years ago. Tony, whose warm deep voice is perfectly at home in a variety of settings whether it is soul or swing, is a creative improviser with an accessible yet unpredictable style. His style is friendly, personable, very musical, and open to spontaneity as can be heard on his two prior recordings, STAIGHT UP DEAL and WHAT IS HIP. Mike Clark says of Tony, “He sings with soul and also does spoken word along with the singing. He is not afraid to address issues that are pertinent to what is going on in the world. He will often have a sketch for a song and then, when we are in the studio, he spontaneously fills it in and improvises, sometimes taking the music in a completely different direction.”

Mike Clark is one of the most in-demand drummers on the scene today. Earlier in his career he played with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, trumpeter Woody Shaw and tenor-saxophonist Joe Henderson. After beginning an association with Herbie Hancock that resulted in him becoming the drummer with the Headhunters, he became well known as a funk drummer although he remains very active in jazz. Among his recent projects have been leading the straight ahead acoustic group Integral Blue which includes Randy Brecker, Donald Harrison and Christian McBride; touring with guitarist Scott Henderson and bassist Jeff Berlin in an electric band performing Wayne Shorter tunes; and recording with keyboardist Michael Wolff’s quartet. In addition he co-leads the Headhunters with Bill Summers. The Headhunters recent CD release is called PLATINUM.

Tony says “The music is in a different and new genre.” Mike Clark is also enthusiastic about the project which is the first time he produced a singer. “We were all really glad to play together and it translates. The music tips its hat towards the days in Oakland when Tower of Power reigned. It has elements of James Brown and some real modern funk. All the music was so swinging and so funky that it was very enjoyable for us and we are very glad to be putting out the music soon.” Tony Adamo’s new CD will be released in a few months and it promises to make a strong impact on the music world.

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