One of the greatest honors in a Jazz Musician's life is to be voted in the Downbeat Magazine Critics polls and readers polls. In 2005, Tony was blessed to be a voted in both polls and in January 2006, he was also voted by Jazztimes Readers as being in the top 4! Not only is Tony proud of these wonderful accomplishments, he is once again, humbled as he realized that these things only happen because of the great gifts that God gave him! The readers polls really touched me because it means that I have gained some respect from my fans and that they dig my playing. Also the fact that they would consider me to be worthy of being included to the list of other great jazz organist who have helped shape me into what I've always wanted to be 'A Jazz Organist'.
Tony started playing the accordion when he was eight years old. When he was twelve, He was given a Jimmy Smith album and instantly knew that Jazz Organ was his calling. Tony began to play in Jazz night clubs around Columbus, Ohio while he was still learning the art of the Hammond B3 organ. He was influenced by hometown Organists such as Hank Marr and Don Patterson. Tony's newfound fascination led him to jazz organ legends Jimmy McGriff, Richard Groove Holmes, Charles Earland, Jack McDuff, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Here He found an unlimited source of inspiration; he just couldn't get enough!
On Tony's sixteenth birthday, he received a phone call from Jimmy Smith. This was a great honor and really boosted his enthusiasm as an organist. Jimmy Smith continued to give Tony Jazz Organ secrets over the phone while Tony was playing around Columbus. When he was twenty, Jimmy Smith invited Tony to come play with him at his club in Woodland Hills L.A., California. An experience Tony would never forget; Tony finally got to play in front of the master of the Jazz Organ. Tony has also been fortunate to spend some time learning from Hank Marr, Bobby Pierce and Dr. Lonnie Smith.