|Montana Orchestra Concert - Art Museum Parkway, Philadelphia (1978). From Vince's Facebook page|
From Chicago5, great tribute to this Salsoul legend...
"Vincent Montana Jr, a producer, arranger, conductor, musician, founder of the Disco era Salsoul Orchestra and member of the MFSB rhythm section – which means his DNA is baked into most of the drum sounds you’ve ever heard on a dance record – passed away today. A post on his Facebook page describes the 85 year old Montana as having passed away peacefully with his loved ones beside him.
Renowned as one of the greatest vibes players of his era, Montana had a mastery of a half dozen instruments and a working knowledge of just about all of them. He first came to be known as a key cog in the greatest musical machine since the Funk Brothers hammered down the sound of Motown: with Harris on guitar, Huff on the keys, Baker on bass, Young on drums and Montana working the vibes.
The Philly Sound did more than make an impression, or leave a trace – as the propelling force behind what would later become Disco, the sessions musicians that would go on to form MFSB, The Salsoul Orchestra, the Gamble & Huff partnership in all of its manifestations would have possibly the most profound influence on popular music of their generation.
In 1974, Montana created The Salsoul Orchestra, the 37 piece group of musicians that practically wrote the blueprint for everything that people today associate with Disco – soul with strings, the virtuosity, the upfront vocals via Evette Benton, Carla Benson and Barbara Ingram. “Runaway”, featuring Loleatta Holloway on vocals, became one of the most sampled records of The Salsoul Orchestra’s catalog due to the rhythm section, but features an exquisite solo on the vibes from Montana:
His Facebook page is the sort of living document that was a real treat for fans: clips of music along with short reminiscences about them, such as this one:
"1975: I was on a deadline. My first LP with Salsoul Records was nearly complete; I just needed one more song. My wife suggested “Tangerine” – it was one of her favorites, so I produced & arranged my own version. As the 2nd single of the album, Tangerine hit the Billboard Top 20 in early 1976 and pushed “The Salsoul Orchestra” LP to number 14 on the Albums Chart. Enjoy!"
|From Vince's Facebook page: "Performing “Runaway” on stage with Loleatta Holloway at The Salsoul Orchestra Concert just before she says my favorite line “COME ON VINCE, PLAY YOUR VIBES...” (Academy of Music, Philadelphia - 1977)|