Steve Smith “Groove: Blue” Organ Trio with Tony Monaco (organ) Vinny Valentino (guitar) | Upcoming Events

Steve Smith "Groove: Blue" Organ Trio with Tony Monaco (organ) Vinny Valentino (guitar)

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Steve Smith "Groove: Blue" Organ Trio with Tony Monaco (organ) Vinny Valentino (guitar)
Steve Smith "Groove: Blue" Organ Trio Tony Monaco & Vinny Valentino

This precious jewel of a trio sprung from a 2011 chance encounter in Jakarta. Drummer Steve Smith and guitarist Vinny Valentino were playing the Java Jazz Festival one evening when they heard the wild swinging electric organ of Tony Monaco. They spent the rest of the night jamming joined by George Benson and Roy Hargrove. To get a sense of the style think of the classic Blue Note organ trios of the 1960s, injected effortlessly into contemporary original compositions and standards.

Massachusetts native Steve Smith went from garage bands to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston before touring with jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and joining the classic rock band Journey, with whom he toured the world for nine years, recording "Escape" (1981) and "Frontiers" (1983) which produced numerous Top 40 hits. Smith’s “Vital Information,” became the focus of his jazz attention after leaving Journey but he also performed or recorded with Mariah Carey, Bryan Adams, Larry Coryell, Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, and others. In 2001, Modern Drummer Magazine added Smith to the list of the 25 best drummers of all time.

Vinny Valentino has worked with jazz greats John Patitucci and Steve Gadd. In 2006, he joined Steve Smith’s Vital Information and quickly established himself as a driving creative force in the group.

Despite successful collaborations with Mel Lewis, Jon Faddis, Pat Martino, and Russell Malone, Ohio native Tony Monaco has long been celebrated among jazz insiders only. “Groove: Blue" confirms his status as an unsung hero of the Hammond B3.