Tony Monaco began his keyboard life at age eight. At 12, 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, he continued in his craft. Four years later, Jimmy Smith invited Monaco to come play at his club in California, a peak lifetime experience for Monaco. Smith mentored Monaco, teaching him what is consider the more “classical” B-3 organ style.
In 2000, Monaco met fellow jazz organist Joey DeFrancsco, who offered to produce his debut album. Their collaboration resulted in the critically acclaimed Burnin Grooves, which served as a catalyst for regional and national tours. Monaco has since released eight more albums, and toured the globe many times. He also toured and recorded with the late Pat Martino. His most recent release, The Definition of Insanity, was released in early 2019.
In addition to his accomplishments as a performer, Monaco is also an accomplished instructor. His instructional series, “Playing Jazz Hammond,” that’s become an indispensable resource for serious students of the organ. He serves as Artist in Residence at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where he teaches online and in-person workshops.
Called “one of the great lights of our age” by Barney Kessel of Jazz Times, Bruce Forman is a creative guitarist whose endless musical curiosity is still guiding his musical path in inventive new directions. His Texas origins, early career in San Francisco and New York, and years on the road all contribute to the unique and highly personal vision he demonstrates today. As a supporting player and studio player, he’s played alongside Ray Brown, Bobby Hutcherson, and Roger Kellaway. He’s laid his guitar down on soundtracks to three separate Clint Eastwood films, most notably the Academy Award-winning Million Dollar Baby. He tours multiple projects, including his Formanism trio, his jazz libretto The Red Guitar, and his “western bebop” band, Cow Bop. He recently released the album Junkyard Duo, and can be heard alongside Scott Henderson on their podcast GuitarWank. Forman is currently a professor at USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he specializes in Studio Guitar.
Darrell Green’s professional career began at age 7, at the Cosmopolitan Baptist Church in Oakland. His music education has included the Young Musician’s Program at the University of California, Berkeley, the California Institute of the Arts, and Manhattan School of Music, where he focused on African percussion. He has performed with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Pharoah Sanders, Stefon Harris and Red Holloway, and tours regularly with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, the Jeremy Pelt Quintet, Faye Carrol, Steve Turré, and Sherman Irby throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan.