“Jazz Organ Monster” Tony Monaco, king of the Hammond B3 Organ, headlines the 2014 Fulton Jazz Fest, with cool jazz and hot nights, 5-11 p.m. on Aug. 8 and 4:30-11 p.m. Aug. 9, it was announced by the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, festival host.
The event is on the shores of Lake Neatahwanta, behind the Fulton War Memorial on Route 3 and admission is free.
“We are thrilled to have Tony Monaco as our featured artist this year,” said Joe Cortini, event co-chair. “He’ll be gracing our stage with a stellar band on Saturday evening, and groups with strong local ties will be rounding out the lineup for both nights. Tony is a great follow-up to legendary B3 organist Joey DeFrancesco who delighted the crowd at the 2012 Fulton Jazz Fest. ”
The festival kicks off this year with Happy Hour from 5-6 p.m. Aug. 8, when The Longwood Jazz Project, sponsored by Blue Moon Grill, will take the Fulton Savings Bank stage.
Following Happy Hour, The Anthony Joseph Swingtet will play from 6:30-8 p.m., followed by the return of the party band Atlas, which is sure to keep the crowd dancing from 8:30-11 p.m. Cortini said. “The Swingtet features an array of popular tunes from the Great American Songbook and Atlas always brings high energy and an irresistible beat.”
The fun continues on Aug. 9 at 4:30 with The FreeFall Jazz Orchestra gathering on the Fulton Savings Bank Stage to entertain the crowd, followed by Tony Monaco. Rounding out the evening will be a performance by The Billionaires 8:30-11 p.m. “FreeFall, which had its premier Jazz Fest performance last year, has played Oswego’s Harborfest, is composed of some of Central New York’s most talented jazz musicians, and features many original compositions by group director and keyboardist Stan Gosek,” said Bill Hubel, event co-chair. Gosek, who taught for 22 years at SUNY Oswego as director of Jazz Studies, also conducted the college’s Solid State jazz ensemble and the State Singers pop vocal ensemble.
Headliner Tony Monaco brings an incredible resume,” Cortini said.
According to his website ( www.b3monaco.com/): “Tony Monaco began his keyboard life at age eight, on the accordion. When he was twelve, his destiny as a jazz organist was sealed when he first heard Jimmy Smith. An enthusiastic student, Tony began working in Jazz clubs as a teenager in his native Columbus, Ohio, guided by local organ gurus Hank Marr and Don Patterson. For further inspiration, he studiously absorbed the mastery of Jimmy McGriff, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Charles Earland, Jack McDuff, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. All would play a role in the development of his musical palette.
On Tony’s sixteenth birthday, his prayers were answered. He received an encouraging phone call from Jimmy Smith, who soon became his mentor/teacher. Four years later, Jimmy Smith invited Tony to come play at his club in California – a peak lifetime experience for Tony.
“From 1980 to 2006, Tony stood by his family businesses and married to have three daughters, while running Monaco’s Palace Italian restaurant for ten years while performing weekly in the lounge. Tony then entered the food brokerage industry peaking towards Torchbearer status with SYSCO foods. Always inspired by music, Tony then went to work as an assistant Broadcast producer for a prominent ad agency learning his production skills and playing gigs at night to continue supporting his family. After graduating from college with a B.S.B.A. from Franklin University in 1989, Tony’s occupation changed again to supervisor of Monaco Concrete (‘My Father needed a good manager and my daughters were getting close to going to college!’).
“Tony now enjoys and concentrates in all his musical energies flourishing completely as he pursues his passions. In April 2000, Tony met fellow jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, who offered to produce a debut CD for him. This collaboration resulted in the critically acclaimed “Burnin Grooves”. The international success of the recording served as the catalyst for regional and national tours. This success was followed by two more releases for Summit Records that received critical acclaim and significant sales, charting in the Jazzweek Top 10. In September 2003, Summit Records released “A New Generation”, a unique recording featuring both Tony’s and Joey DeFrancesco’s Trios. They recorded the project using two “Hammond-Suzuki New B3′s” as Tony was awarded a major endorsement role with Hammond and Suzuki. As Tony’s reputation has grown, he has been blessed to play with some of greatest musicians in jazz, including Mel Lewis, Lewis Nash, Red Holloway, Plas Johnson, Sonny Fortune, Jon Faddis, Adam Nussbaum, Bruce Forman, Harvey Mason, Chester Thompson (drummer) Herlin Riley, Matt Wilson, Jeff Clayton, Terrell Stafford, Eric Alexander, Late Bobby Durham, Russell Malone, Peter Bernstein, Paul Bollenback, Bruce Forman, Kevin Mahogany, Victor Lewis, Pat Martino, Fareed Haque and even George Benson.”
“Tony Monaco has assembled an outstanding band to play with him at Jazz Fest,” Cortini said. “Jeff Stockham, trumpet, is well-known to audiences in Central NY, but he has also backed up national artists like Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, and Harry Connick, Jr.
“Mike Dubaniewicz, on sax, has performed in over 20 countries. He toured the world with Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau Band serving as featured soloist, and he has recorded with Phil Ramone, Michael Feinstein, Bobby Shew, Wayne Bergeron and Dianne Schuur.
“Steve Brown will be backing Monaco on guitar. Brown has played with such musicians as Jimmy Smith, Paquito D’Rivera, Chuck Mangione, Phil Woods, and “Ray Charles. Brown was a member of Chuck Israels’ National Jazz Ensemble, and toured the United States and Europe numerous times.
“Rounding out the Monaco group is Larry Luttinger on drums. He is the founder and executive director of the Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit performing organization that presents jazz in concert, cabaret, scholastic, and festival settings across the region, to an annual audience of 80,000 in public and in schools. As a performer, he plays drum set for the CNY Jazz Orchestra. He recorded and toured extensively for the award-winning Society for New Music during his 14-year tenure as their percussionist. He has performed with many well known jazz artists, including Rob McConnell, Clark Terry, Grady Tate, Frank Foster, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Buddy DeFranco, Doc Severinson, Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden, Lorne Lofsky, Lena Horne, Maxine Sullivan, The Four Freshmen, Phil Woods and Antonio Hart, among many others.”
Gates open at 4 p.m. and admission is free, made possible through sponsorship from local businesses, including Stage Sponsor Fulton Savings Bank and Gold Sponsors Chirello Advertising, Foster Funeral Home, Inc., Oswego Health, PathFinder Bank and the Valley News, Blue Moon Grill, Upperlandings and Kathy’s Cakes & Specialty treats will be serving their gourmet specialties and beer and wine is available to purchase with valid ID at the Blue Moon Grill stand.
Please bring your lawn chairs or blankets, but leave your coolers and pets at home, Hubel said.
For more information, contact the chamber at 315-343-7681, visit their web site www.oswegofultonchamber.com/jazzfest, or find them on Facebook under “Fulton Jazz Festival”.
This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts.