Reviewed by Kirpal Gordon (reprinted from Jazz Times) The killin’ist thing about Tony Adamo & the New York Crew is that everybody in the band, especially the dope rhyme sayer, has got big ears all the way back to New Orleans and ancient-forward into the ever-evolving Multi-New Thing. It’s big ears working together that’s keeping this CD in Jazzweek's Chart Top 200 List since its release, a totally unheard of phenomenon for jazz-spoken word collaborations.
Although singing the talents and wonders of the giants who make this music immortal is nothing new, Adamo and the New York Crew pour out on these eleven tracks joyous lagniappes of praise, the song-cup running over with each additional solo. It’s one thing to express an artful appreciation of the Jazz Messengers, for example, in a song, but it’s a whole other monster of tribute when the band rocks Blakey’s sound so righteously. Former Headhunter Mike Clark (drummer, co-writer and producer) swings beyond emulation into stratospheric celebration and the whole band follows as Adamo catalogues the great players who have graced the bandstand with Bu. Tony lays out, the alto sax and trumpet blend beautifully and piano, trumpet, sax all solo before he reappears and everyone trades eights.
Like Sun Ra said, “Space is the place,” and Tim Ouimette, musical arranger, co-writer and trumpeter, masterfully spaces things so that each praise song layers in many textures and qualities. Bassist Richie Goods, pianist Michael Wolff and percussionist Bill Summers round out the rhythm section, all of whom have worked with the songwriting team of Adamo and Clark previously. The ease, grace and Old School range of the band is further enriched by Donald Harrison on alto saxophone, who brings his own Big Easy roots perspective to this praise-the-trad project. Indeed, the players deliver context, fusing the lyrical phrases of Adamo with the living musical tradition.