“Tony Monaco may be the best organ player you have yet to hear of flying stealth while playing arguably some of the hottest B-3 around. Mentored by the legendary Jimmy Smith in what is considered the more classic style, Monaco does not swing, smolder or smoke. Tony Monaco burns is this most fitting!” CriticalJazz Review2012.
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.