Ian Anderson 4:59 p.m., July 3
- Community Blog
- Oakland Funk and New York Throw Down
Catching Up With Tony Adamo The Miles Of Blu Interview! Part 1&2 @CriticalJazz
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Catching Up With Tony Adamo The Miles Of Blu Interview! If there is a hipper cat on the planet than Tony Adamo, I would love to meet him! A recent conversation with Tony follows:
Critics label artists because it’s so much easier than having to actually "think" about the artist or where they or their music comes from. so who is tony Adamo?
T.A. "I am a man who leads his life with great respect for others and demands respect in return. I have lived my life with that idea as the forefront of my existence. I have lost the friendship of musicians and producers because they did not respect the direction my music was going in and wanted to consistently change it to their liking. Mike Clark believed in my music and respected its unique newness. In the music world many people say you have to earn your just dues to earn respect. This outdated way of thinking just does not lay right with me. No matter what profession you are hip to in life, if you come up with a new hip way to write something, (song, play, movie, novel, invention) on the first take, you have my respect. There are those who think that in order to earn your just dues one needs to take years to be successful. I just don’t dig that concept. On the first take is what I am all about!"
Hip spoken word may be the most accurate description of your art. Tell us about the record and where you wanted to go. I sometimes use the term beatnik poetry as your words seem to embrace what's happening today be it music, politics etc...
T.A. "The thought and direction behind MILES OF BLU (MOB) took shape many years ago. I had no idea this would be a new genre of vocal/hipspokenword. Many of the lyrics I wrote from MOB were made up in studio as I was recording. My free form hipspokenword flow turned out to be better than the lyrics I had originally written. Dig this Brent, Mike Clark to this day has no idea that I started in music as drummer. While playing drums, congas, or other percussion instruments in various bands I belonged to, I would hear words in between the licks I was putting down. I was not hearing singing, but whole sentences of spoken words between my drumming notes. I never knew what beatnik poetry was until my early twenties. When I tried to dig Kerouac and all the heavy beat hipsters, their beatnik poetry was not jiving in my head. I had to come up with my own voice without being influenced by the great beat poets, Kerouac, Ginsburg and LaMantia. I stayed away from listening to Mark Murphy’s spoken word and Gil Scott Heron’s political sayings. About the only cat I really dug was not a musician at all. Lenny Bruce’s comic delivery set me on my path. His timing and endless free thinking riff delivery on the spot, inspired me. An example from MILES OF BLUE would be “The Power of Funky Madness.” Mike and his crew laid down the music tracks for “Funky Madness” without my vocal hipspokenword. That track collected dust for six months. Mike finally ended up adding horns and guitar in studio. Mike asked me if I had any lyrics yet. I said something like “Bro I have it covered” and told him to let the music roll. What you hear is a free form riff that came to me in the moment. I was being vibed across my creative mind by Mike’s drumming. The Texas Shuffle he was laying down was my guide for the hip words that flowed from me. The recording of my vocal hipspoken word on “The Power of Funky Madness” was done in one take. I have no idea where the words came from. When I finished recording I had to listen to the playback in order to write down the words because I could not remember what I said. Oh yeah baby!"
Producer/drummer and all around nice guy Mike Clark carries some serious weight. What was the most important thing mike brought to the table and what did you learn as an artist from working with him?
T.A. "What Mike brought to the table was friendship, all encompassing friendship. Mike chants and I meditate daily. This bond of what we do different, but the same, brought enter peace and knowledge to the MOB project. Mike and I were digging the same groove consistently. I came up with a new way to say the same old thing and Mike wrapped his jazz, funk creativity and deep drum playing around my new concept. His leadership and dedication to this project brought it all together. I learned that Mike is a supreme producer in seamlessly managing the musicians and the music on MILES OF BLU."
Continuing my rap with Tony Adamo from part one : http://www.criticaljazz.com/2013/06/catching-up-with-tony-adamo-miles-of.html
I like to move past the traditional role of tossing out random opinions and promote artists that at least to me have something different to offer or may simply be a voice society needs to hear for a variety of reasons.So let me flip it, review the reviewers. what is your take on critics? are they simply bottom feeders caught up in the industry andr do you think in general most of us could step up our game a little?
T.A. - "Some of the critics of my music in the past I feel have used generic templates in writing reviews. I came across this way of reviewing while digging music reviews in music publications. One critic in particular wrote one review on my WHAT IS HIP CD and years later on my MILES OF BLU CD. Though both albums are so different from each other, both reviews sounded somewhat the same. It seems like some reviewers do star inflation reviews on a legendary jazz artists. For example the legendary artists CD may not be up to par but just recycled cuts from past albums and they get five stars. Those same critics can be mean spirited to a new jazz artist or musician whose work in not well known but may far outshine a legendary jazz artist. The new musician receives three stars. I see too many opinion reviews based upon a critics personal music tastes and not complying with the music genre they are reviewing. What I find to be the most troubling is being reviewed by a non musician with no working knowledge of recording or working on stage. In saying this, do music critics who have a background in music and play and instrument write better reviews? Man I don’t know! It is all square to me man. Don’t get me wrong Brent, there are as many great music critics as are there a bad ones."
Hip spoken word can trigger some preconceived ideas for a lot of people. if you can shatter any of these stereotypes what are they?
T.A. - "First off my vocal/hipspokenword in not purely spokenword. I intertwine vocal and hipspokenword into a new genre. My vocal/hipspokenword is more accessible to radio than just coming out with a CD of spokenword backed by a jazz trio. It encompasses jazz, funk, pop, acid jazz and adult listening all laced together by vocal/hipspokenword and the stellar musicians that Mike Clark put together for MOB. When the listening public and music directors and program directors hear spokenword they tend to stay away from it because it can sometimes be an uninteresting and mundane delivery from spoken word artists. In MILES OF BLU I captivate my audience by being a storyteller of jazz history, politics and life in general. My hope is to have the new generation of listeners get hip to our rich jazz history."
Finally, What artists do you listen to and perhaps draw from when considering your art?
T.A."I always like to say I am never influenced but inspired by Tower of Power, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters with Mike Clark, Organ Jazz Funk Trios, Acid Jazz, Latin Jazz, James Brown, house music."
Brent, I want to thank you for giving me this interview opportunity. Bro it has been a great experience getting to know you. You are by far the hippest music critic I have come across. I dig you to the most man!
Tony Many thanks to Tony for his time and friendship during this process