Tony Adamo Reviewed by L.A. Jazz Scene's Jim Santella

by Jim Santella

Pop songs with R&B horns make Tony Adamo's Straight Up Deal sizzle with excitement. He sings with the bold character of a man who knows how to entertain, recalling pop singers Tom Jones, David Clayton-Thomas and Brook Benton as well as jazz singers Al Jarreau and Mark Murphy. His program, however, goes well beyond the pop and R&B arena into Jazz interpretations of standards such as "Milestones, " "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, " "Stolen Moments, " "In the WineLight, " and "Speak Low."

The band, which includes horns with guitars, bass, keyboards and drums, gives Adamo a solid foundation from which he wails soulfully. Several guests help to make the session come alive: trumpeter Eddie Henderson, tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts, guitarist Jerry Stucker, baritone saxophonist Doc Kupka, and alto saxophonist Melecio Magdaluyo.

Adamo swings up front on "Hey Lou" with persuasive jazz-talk, settles down for "Autumn Leaves" with a straightforward ballad approach, curls up with " Lolita" in a romantic way, croons "Speak Low" with a delightful spin, cries "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" with funk dreams on his mind, and creates a lovely program rich in the jazz tradition and fun to be with.

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