Vincent Montana, Jr.
|Birth name||Vincent Montana, Jr.|
February 12, 1928|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||April 13, 2013
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States
|Genres||Jazz, soul, disco|
|Occupations||Percussionist, arranger, bandleader, composer|
|Years active||c.1950 - 2000s|
|Labels||Salsoul, Atlantic, Philly Sound Works|
|Associated acts||MFSB, The Salsoul Orchestra|
Vincent Montana, Jr. (February 12, 1928 – April 13, 2013), known as Vince Montana, was an American composer, arranger, and percussionist, best known as a member of MFSB and as the founder of the Salsoul Orchestra. He has been called "the Godfather of Disco".
Life and career
He was born in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood. He began playing drums as a child and soon took up other percussion instruments including the glockenspiel and marimba. By the late 1940s, he regularly played in nightclubs with jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, Clifford Brown and Red Garland. He then spent some time as a musician in Las Vegas hotels, accompanying and arranging for Harry Belafonte, Louis Prima and others. He returned to Philadelphia in the late 1950s, and played vibraphone on Frankie Avalon's 1959 hit "Venus" as well as recordings by Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell and others. Around the same time, he began to be featured regularly on the nationally syndicated TV talk show, The Mike Douglas Show.
With Joseph Tarsia, he helped set up the Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia in 1967, and began working with record producers Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell. He formed and led MFSB, and recorded several albums with the orchestra as well as the international hit "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)". He played on and arranged many tracks by The Intruders, The Delfonics, The Spinners, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The O'Jays, The Trammps, Eddie Kendricks, William DeVaughn, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, The Stylistics, Teddy Pendergrass, and many others.
However, he fell out with Gamble and Huff over financial issues, and in 1974, after being introduced by Joe Bataan, joined with the Cayre brothers - Cayre brothers, Kenneth, Stanley, and Joseph - owners of Caytronics, a New York-based distributor of Latin music - to set up the Salsoul label. Several of the Philadelphia musicians joined him in New York. The first record for the label, "Salsoul Hustle", credited to the Salsoul Orchestra, was a commercial success, and the orchestra recorded six albums for the label over the next three years. Ken Cayre praised Montana's skill at scoring strings, brass, and diverse percussion in such way that it all worked within a dance recording, and the Salsoul Orchestra has been credited as "the first disco orchestra". He also worked at Salsoul with other musicians including First Choice and Loleatta Holloway.
Montana then joined Atlantic Records before launching his own Philly Sound Works label. His recording of "Heavy Vibes", a reworking of part of MFSB's "Love Is The Message" credited to the Montana Sextet, reached no.59 on the UK singles chart in 1983. In later years, Montana worked with house music duo Masters at Work, which rekindled interest in his work. Most recently, Montana worked on "New York City Boy" by the Pet Shop Boys.
KEY: PL = Played on recording as vibraharpist or percussionist, tympani, marimba, orchestra bells and chimes AC = Arranged musical composition and conducted recording session P = Produced recording session and booked all musicians. WC = As Writer and Publisher of the composition recorded.
- PL Frankie Avalon "Venus" 1959
- PL The Soul Survivors "Expressway to Your Heart" 1967
- PL Cliff Nobles hit Instrumental "The Horse" 1968
- PL Eddie Holman "Hey There Lonely Girl" 1969
- PL Delfonics (LP) I’m Sorry plus "La-La (Means I Love You)" 1969
- PL The Intruders Save The Children including the hit song "I'll Always Love My Mama"
- When We Get Married
- Cowboys to Girls, their first album, The Energy of Love
- The Intruders Greatest Hits, including "Together and United" 1969-1972
- PL Jerry Butler - You and Me, The Ice Man Cometh, Soul Goes On, The Spice of Life, Ice on Ice 1969-1972
- PL The O’Jays The O'Jays in Philadelphia including "One Night Affair"
- Backstabber including: "Love Train", "992 Arguments", and the title track, "Backstabbers"
- Family Reunion including "I Love Music" 1969-1975
- PL Wilson Pickett Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia 1970
- PL Dusty Springfield A Brand New Me 1970
- PL The Assembled Multitude Overture For Tommy 1970
- PL The Philly Ambassadors The Ambassadors 1970
- PL/AC The Electric Indians The Electric Indians
- PL/AC Cissie Houston Cissy Houston on Janice Records 1971
- PL The Family Family Affair
- PL The Stylistics You are Everything 1971
- PL The Stylistics Round 2 1972
- PL Joe Simon Drowning in the Sea of Love 1972
- PL Ronny Dyson One Man Band 1972
- PL Dick Jenson Dick Jenson 1973
- PL/AC The True Reflections "Where I’m Coming From", "Helpless Man", "Look at all the Lonely People" 1973
- PL Johnny Mathis I'm Coming Home 1973
- PL Billy Paul, Ebony Woman, Going East, The 360 Degrees of Billy Paul, Feeling Good at the Cadillac Club 1972-73
- PL Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes I Miss You, All Things Happen in Time, "Black and Blue"
- AC "Is There A Place For Me", "Cabaret" and "The Love I Lost" 1973
- PL The Spinners, The Spinners 1973
- PL/AC The First Choice Armed and Extremely Dangerous 1974 The Player
- PL/AC The Whispers Bingo, The True Reflection 1973/74
- PL/AC The Ebonys The Ebonys 1973
- PL/AC The Jacksons 5 Third Album 1973
- PL/AC Brenda and The Tabulaions Brenda and The Tabulations 1973
- PL Patty La Belle La Belle 1973
- PL/AC The Tramps "Disco Inferno" (single and LP) 1973
- PL Lou Rawls Lou Rawls 1973
- PL/AC Eddie Kendricks Eddie Kendricks 1973
- PL/AC Vic Damone Vic Damone 1973
- PL/AC Jean Carne Jean Carne 1973
- PL Barbara Mason Give Me Your Love 1973
- PL Laura Nyro and LaBelle "Gonna Take A Miracle" 1973
- PL Billy Paul War of The Gods 1973
- PL The O’Jays Ship Ahoy 1973
- PL The Stylistics Rock and Roll Baby 1973
- PL/AC Blue Magic The Magic of The Blue
- PL/AC Blue Magic Blue Magic 1974
- PL/AC The Delfonics Alive and Kicking 1974
- PL Billy Paul Live in Europe 1974
- PL William DeVaughn Be Thankful For What You Got 1974
- PL Nancy Wilson Now I'm a Woman 1974
- PL/AC Blue Magic, Major Harris, Margie Joseph, Live Musical Extravaganza Lights Up The Latin Casino. Arranged and Conducted Live on Stage Production 1975
- PL The Three Degrees International 1975
- PL Disco Pak Get Down With The Philly Sound 1975
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Orchestra The Sal Soul Orchestra 1975
- WC/P "Sal Soul Hustle", "Chicago Bus Stop (Ooh I Love It)", "You're Just The Right Size, "Sal Soul Rainbow", "Tangerine", "Love Letters"
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Orchestra The Sal Soul Strings 1975-1978
- WC/P How Deep is Your Love
- PL/AC Sal Soul Orchestra, Electric Lady
- WC/P Artist Carol Williams 1976
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Orchestra Christmas Jollies 1976
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Orchestra Nice N' Nasty 1976
- WC/P "It’s Good For the Soul" "Nice N' Nasty" "Ritzy Mambo
- PL/AC Fat Larry’s Band Feel It and "Center City" 1976
- PL/AC Astrud Gilberto That Girl From Ipanema 1976
- PL/AC Grace Jones "Portfolio", "Tomorrow", "Send in The Clowns", "What I Did For Love" 1977
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Orchestra Magic Journey 1977
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Orchestra
- WC "Disco Boogie" "Super Hits For Nonstop Dancing" 1977
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Orchestra’s Greatest Hits
- WC "Music For Nonstop Dancing" Re-released 1975, 1976, and 1978
- PL/AC Charo and The Sal Soul Orchestra (LP) 1977
- WC "Dance A Little Bit Closer"
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Saturday Night Disco Party 1978
- PL Gordon Lowe "Follow The Sound"
- PL Monk Montgomery: Reality 1974
- PL William DeVaughn's Be Thankful For What You Got
- PL/AC M.F.S.B. "M.F.S.B." "Poinciana", "My One And Only Love"
- All M.F.S.B. Freddies Dead, Philadelphia Freedom, M.F.S.B. Summertime, M.F.S.B. Universal Love, Love is The Message
- PL Dee Dee Sharp "Happy ‘bout The Whole Thing"
- PL/AC The Sal Soul Orchestra Anthology 1995
- PL Teddy Pendegrass This One's For You 1980
- PL/AC Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes All Things Happen in Time 1981
- PL/AC Montana "I Love Music" 1978
- WC/P "A Dance Fantasy Inspired By Close Encounters of The Third Kind" 1978
- "Goody Goody" "#1 Dee Jay and It Looks Like Love" 1979 Featuring Denise Montana
- PL/AC Tito Puente and India (LP) Count Basie Orchestra 1996
- WC "To Be In Love" and "Love Me"
- PL/AC Mondo Groso and "Closer" 1997
- PL/AC The Braxtons The Boss 1997
- PL/AC Randy Crawford Wishing On a Star 1997
- PL/AC Nuyorican Soul Runaway, Nautilus
- WC "Sweet Tears" "I Am the Black Gold of the Sun" 1997 "Its Allright"
- PL/AC Incognito (LP) Jocelyn Brown "Always There" 1997
- Perrone, Pierre (30 June 2013). "Vince Montana: Musician known as 'the Godfather of Disco'". The Independent. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Needs, Kris (June 2013). "Not Forgotten: Vincent Montana". Record Collector (415): 144.
- Hogan, Ed. "Vince Montana: Artist Biography". Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 529. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
- Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2013 January to June". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
- Official Vince Montana Jr. Website At Philly Sound Works
- Interview with Vince Montana Jr.
- Vince Montana's personal collection on his Philly Sound Works YouTube page