Jazz vocalist Tony Adamo struts back with his silky, charismatic, and, as I’m sure many ladies will confirm, seductive vocals on this clever new release Straight Up Deal. While I’ve classified this recording as smooth jazz, it really serves up equal doses of funk, smooth jazz, and R&B. There are also elements of island rhythms and cool, piano-bar jazz. A true cornucopia of coolness in each genre.
I first became quite interested in Adamo’s talents after hearing his croonings with funkster/former Herbie Hancock Head Hunter bassist Paul Jackson. Impressive is an understatement. His stylish and signature vibrato-tinged voice adds a truly bright dimension to all he endeavors to set to song.
On this album, Adamo calls in the Tower of Power horns, Paul Jackson, Ernie Watts, Eddie Henderson, and Freddie Washington, just to name a very few. The additions toss more color on this vibrant canvas. This project includes a cool rendition of the classic "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," "In the Winelight," which calls to mind the omnipresent spirit of the great Grover Washington Jr., and "Hey Lou," a tune on which he and Paul Jackson also groove on Jackson’s Funky Fingers album. There’s also new vibrant funk like "No Strings." Adamo consistently lights it up, showing his grasp of the various genres and his ability to manipulate, caress, and mold them into what fits for him.... and us. I’ve seen that other reviewers of this album are a bit partial to the rhythmic, island-flavored "Lolita." I must join the chorus of favorable reviews of this cut, as well as many of the other selections. It’s a contagious little number. In fact, the entire diverse project has a considerable amount of magnetism to it. Well done, indeed.