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Vincent Montana Jr.

Written by Bernard Lopez

Vincent Montana Jr. (Vince Montana) (1928-2013) who created the Salsoul Orchestra in an in depth DiscoMusic.com interview. From his days with Gamble and Huff in Philly to worldwide fame. Discover why even the Pet Shop Boys sought out this musical genius.

It is with great sadness that we must report that Vince Montana passed away on April 13, 2013. According to a post on his Facebook page, he was surrounded by family and passed away quietly at the age of 85. A true musical genius who was a musician, writer, arranger, producer and extraordinary vibe player who played on almost all the tunes that came out of Philly is gone, but will never be forgotten. Condolences and words of sympathy go out to his family and friends.

Vince Montana playing the vibes Much has been written about Vincent Montana Jr., the creator of the Salsoul Orchestra and one of the key figures behind the "Philly Sound," but who is Vince Montana really? What led him to create the works that would help shape Disco and dance in the 1970s and 80s and still allow him to be sought out by the likes of Masters at Work and The Pet Shop Boys as we enter a new millennium?

Musical Beginnings:

Vincent Montana who is of Italian decent was born on February 12th of 19?? (won't divulge year) and was raised in the working class neighborhood of South Philly. This section of Philadelphia had some elements straight out of a Godfather movie with many colorful characters and one could easily slip into this way of life at a young age. Vince Montana however chose music instead and never looked back.

Vincent Montana recalls that he started playing the drums from the age of six since his father did as well, but that a grade school teacher recommended he play the orchestra bells for a school play named "The Celebrated Waltz." Telling the teacher that he wasn't sure that he could do it, the teacher took the time to show Montana the basics and encouraged him to practice and keep at it. Vince said it took a little perseverance, but he was soon hooked and studied music intensively after that.

A young Vincent Montana Jr. on the vibesMontana strongly credits this experience with his ultimate desire to play vibes and believes that being exposed to the arts and music at an early age is something that no child should be denied.

Over time Vincent Montana mastered the drums, vibraharp, orchestra bells, chimes, marimba and the tympani. Playing the vibes is what he is best known for. For us lay people the vibraharp (or simply vibes) consists of 36 aluminum bars of varying size that are struck with a mallet. Vince Montana plays with two or four mallets which he hand wraps with cotton yarn. The bars in turn sit atop pipes with motors that resonate and which can then be sustained via a foot pedal. The vibes are considered a percussive instrument and similar to the xylophone and marimba which have wooden keys. Watching and hearing Vincent Montana play the vibes up-close in his studio was a rare treat indeed.

As we continue to discuss Vincent Montana's musical beginnings he brings out a stack of ancient music books and promptly lays them out in front of me so I could get a good look at what they contain. He flips through the pages of charts and music theories and explains some of them. The next book he brings out is the one that really got me interested because it contains sheet music for many of the Salsoul Orchestra's hits. Even though I can't read music Montana explains what some of the notes mean and I felt the thrill of seeing and hearing as he hummed what the musicians saw as they played their respective parts.

Vincent Montana playing vibes for Salsoul OrchestraSoon after, the focus shifts to the orchestra and its many components such as the violin, viola and cello which Vincent Montana then goes about describing with words, hand gestures and finally drawing on paper the figure eight path that sound waves take through a violin. Also how playing more than one violin at a time (or just about any instrument) as in the context of an orchestra gives out many different harmonics that otherwise wouldn't be heard. "No two players play alike; no two instruments sound alike." He seems to revel in this notion and one knows damn well Vincent Montana has exploited this phenomenon to its fullest. This in essence explains what Vincent Montana is aiming at with his work, a large orchestra coming together as one with many overones, or would it be undertones, producing sounds yet unheard. The resulting sounds will play with your mind and senses or as he describes "make the hairs on your back and arms stand up."

Playing with the Stars

Rewinding back to his teens Vincent Montana wanted to continue to learn music and get some real-world experience, So at the age of sixteen he began playing in bands at various Philly jazz clubs. Having the opportunity to play with the likes of Charlie "Bird" Parker, Sarah Vaughn and countless others, Vincent Montana was able to interact with true legends and hone his craft. One may wonder how he got to play with Charlie Parker? Simple, he asked if he could sit in with the band one night. That one moment of courage acted as a catalyst that saw him go on to play with other great Jazz musicians and groups of the era.

After making a name for himself in and around Philly, Vincent Montana decides to travel about the U.S. in the 1950s and early sixties with a brief stop-over in Las Vegas. He and the other musicians would travel around and play the popular dance songs of the day for whatever money they could get. Vince then returned to Philly to work as a session musician playing behind the likes of Chubby Checker and other Cameo-Parkway artists throughout the sixties.

In the early seventies Vincent Montana landed a spot on television as a band member with the Michael Douglas Show after being the last musician to audition for the part.

Montana and the Philly Sound

Philadelphia International RecordsUnfortunately, being on the show didn't allow Vince to play as much or be as creative as he had wanted. After being with the Michael Douglas Show for about a year Vince went back to playing in and around Philly and soon became an integral part of the "Philly Sound." This was due in large part to his earlier works with Cameo/Parkway and friends like Thom Bell (Delfonics) as well as Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff who he would work with for about seven years.

Vince recalls a time when he was wheeling in his vibraharp into the studio and saw Leon Huff sitting patiently in the lobby. Leon was a songwriter and piano player and both were friends so Vince Montana asked what he was waiting for to which Leon replied "I've been waiting for four hours to show Bernie Lowe (then head of the studio) some music I've been working on." He then asked Vince that if he saw Bernie, to tell him that he has been waiting and could he please see him to which Vince replied "Don't worry, some day you'll own the building." Sure enough Leon teamed up with Kenny Gamble to form the legendary Philadelphia International record label and now owns the studio.

Huff's future partner Gamble would come into the studio and sing backup along with his future wife Dee Dee Sharp. Vincent Montana says the whole experience was almost like magic and they never stepped on anyone else's toes. Who could argue when such great talents as Norman Harris on guitar, Ron Baker on bass, Leon Huff on piano, Earl Young on drums and Vincent Montana on vibes were creating music? These were just a few of the many session musicians that made up the rhythm section of the "Philly Sound." Others included the late Larry Washington who played congas and who many of today's DJ/remixers unknowingly sample.

Montana describes Norman's sounds as very Wes Montgomery-like and very Jazz. The late bassist Ron Baker loved the style of the late James Jamerson from Motown, Bobby Eli was very electric with the wah wahs, T. J. Tindel with the rock feel... it was a great mix. Nonetheless, New York musicians called them (the Philly guys) Disco players, which Vincent Montana resented because he says they "were all great Jazz musicians," but playing Jazz at $25.00 a night just didn't pay the bills so they had to play what made money. We simply "imported Jazz into a funky dance music." Motown started the dance era and was funky and Vincent Montana says that they (Philly) elaborated on it and made it a little more sophisticated with the strings, french horns . . . He is proud to have been a part of what Motown and Philly did for music.

One of the first records Montana worked on, and one he still can't get enough of, was "Expressway To Your Heart" by The Soul Survivors. The work just snowballed and he continued in the capacity as a session musician, arranger and/or producer with many artists and groups. They included Blue Magic, Brenda and the Tabulations, The Delfonics, Loleatta Holloway, The Intruders, Grace Jones, Eddie Kendricks, Barbara Mason, Johnny Mathis, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The O' Jays, Billy Paul, The Spinners, The Stylistics, The Tramps and Carol Williams.

Now making our way into his family room we see all the gold record awards Vincent Montana has garnered over the years for his work with the above groups. Montana takes us through the room and explains the significance of each award and photo. Seeing and hearing all this is when one suddenly realizes the unique position he has enjoyed during his career and also the scope and breathe of his work.

Even with all this under his belt this was not to be his crowning achievement. The future sound of the Salsoul Orchestra was still to come.

Salsoul is Born:

Vincent Montana with Salsoul Orchestra promo pictureLess than a hundred miles away in New York City was the home of a small, but very popular Latin record label. The Cayre brothers (Joe, Stan and Ken) who were involved in the textile industry and ironically not even Hispanic ran this label under the umbrella name of Caytronics.

Originally, Vincent Montana went to Ken Cayre in 1974 not to pitch the Salsoul Orchestra concept, but a Puerto Rican musical group he had discovered and was working with. Ken said "Oh, no more Latin music" and turned the offer away. However while they were talking Joe Bataan, who was in the next office, overheard them and came out and coaxed Vincent Montana into telling Ken about his Disco orchestra concept.

Salsoul RecordsVincent Montana had met Joe Bataan a few times before at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound and had told Bataan of his long standing desire to put together a Disco orchestra and blend the Latin sounds of Salsa with Soul. Not only was it a blending of Salsa and Soul, but also Classical a little Big Band with a little Rock flavor thrown in for good measure. As a matter of fact the "rainbow" in the Salsoul logo was envisioned to show this harmonious blending of many different cultures and sounds.

Ken then brought Vincent Montana in to meet Joe Cayre, who was the president of the label. Well, the Cayre brothers loved the idea since they were looking for a Philly style sound of their own. They told Montana it was a go-ahead and wrote a check so he could begin work on three songs one of which was to become Salsoul's first hit, The Salsoul Hustle. Vincent Montana simply put the check in his pocket without even looking at it, but when he arrived home was shocked to discover that it was for $10,000! It was the most money he had seen at one time and he and his wife were speechless.

Vincent Montana and the Cayre brothers settled on the name Salsoul shortly after their first meeting as they were walking down the streets of New York on their way to have lunch. The name Salsoul had already been used as the title on one of Joe Bataan's songs and was chosen to show the roots of this new direction in music: the juxtaposition of Salsa and Soul. A new record label also named Salsoul Records was begun to promote the music that would soon change the face of Disco and dance.

Popularity of the Salsoul Orchestra:

Vincent Montana recalls that he wasn't sure how the Salsoul concept would fly. He worked on the three songs he was contracted to do which were titled Salsoul Hustle, Nice Vibes and Dance A Little Closer (the last would be used on the Salsoul album with Charo).

Soon after finishing work on the initial three songs Vince and his family went on vacation to his wife's native Scotland, but were immediately summoned back to New York. The reason was that one of the songs, The Salsoul Hustle, was taking off and the Cayre brothers wanted him to come up with more material to meet the demand. Vince soon returned to continue working on new material to complete the Salsoul Orchestra's self titled first album (# SZS 5501, S8Z 5501).

Barbara Ingram, Evette Benton and Carla BensonVocals on the Salsoul tracks were by the late Barbara Ingram, Evette Benton and Carla Benson. They were collectively better known as, "The Sweethearts of Sigma." Not only were they on the Salsoul tracks, but on many other Philly tracks as well.

The debut Salsoul Orchestra album would propel Vince Montana and his 37-member orchestra to international fame. Being that they were real musicians and not just over-dubs in the studio they routinely played to enthusiastic audiences at such places as Radio City Music Hall and Roseland in New York and elsewhere around the world. To further solidify their success the Salsoul Orchestra were the recipients of numerous awards the most notable being Billboard's Top Disco Orchestra of the Year for three years in a row (1975, 1976 and 1977). And the accolades continued with Record World's Vince Aletti saying that "This is the album of the moment and I suspect that nearly every track will be cropping up on top 10 lists for some time to come." Nothing could be further from the truth because even after more than twenty years my e-mail inbox at DiscoMusic.com is constantly filled with top ten lists from people around the world and it usually include at least one Salsoul Orchestra song.

Salsoul Orchestra - Nice and Nasty LPOther songs and albums would follow for Montana and his Salsoul Orchestra such as the popular track Magic Bird Of Fire which was based on the works of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and utilized a thirty-six member string section. This song was also used by channel 17, a Philadelphia TV station, as the theme music to its 8 o'clock movies for many years.

Here is what Vince had to say about the making of the Salsoul Orchestra's Magic Bird of Fire:

When I was thirteen years-old, my father took me to The Academy of Music in Philadelphia to see Stravinsky conduct "The Firebird Suite." The performance stayed with me for many years and so when I was producing The Salsoul Orchestra, I decided to make my own interpretation of it. I studied the original score, condensed it and borrowed excerpts that I liked and found exciting. It took me a month to extract the parts I wanted from the original score and to notate it for my own recording "Magic Bird of Fire." For the original Salsoul Orchestra session, I recorded the basic rhythm track one day, then booked the studio for 36 strings for the next day. Normally I use 6 Violins, 2 Violas and 1 Cello; but for that particular production, I needed to quadruple the strings -- 24 Violins, 8 Violas, 4 Celli! Then I doubled that! The next session was with brass: 4 French Horns, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, 1 Baritone Sax and 1 Tuba. After that I had the Harpist record. I finished the session off with Tympani and some percussion instruments.

Nice N' Nasty And The Wizard of Oz

In 1976 The Nice 'N' Nasty album was released and yielded such wonderful tracks as It's Good For The Soul, Nice 'N' Nasty, Don't Beat Around The Bush and Ritzy Mambo. Ritzy Mambo was inspired by all the music he heard one night at a Latin music awards show. In 1978 Vincent Montana and The Salsoul Orchestra tackled The Wizard Of Oz in their rendition called Up The Yellow Brick Road which featured the track Ease On Down The Road along with a West Side Story and Fiddler On The Roof medley.

Loleatta Holloway and Vince Montana

Another all-time classic Salsoul track is the much-sampled Runaway with vocals by the late Loleatta Holloway (she also did Love Sensation and Hit And Run): Vincent Montana says that Loleatta Holloway was an absolute joy to work with and someone of immense talent. (The two will reunite for a live performance in March, 2000 at the World Disco Classic Hustle Convention in Florida).

The song Runaway was to have originally been sung by Vincent Montana's daughter Denise Montana who also did the vocals on #1 Dee Jay. She became ill and Loleatta Holloway was called in at the last moment to provide the vocals. Loleatta was brought to New York where Vincent Montana played her a tape of what the melody should sound like and she pretty much practiced it on the hour long drive down to Sigma Studios in Philly. "I still remember when she sang that song. She tore up the mic with the song and I just left it alone" recalls Vince.

Differences Between M.F.S.B. and the Salsoul Orchestra

Many large Disco orchestras became popular at around the same time including Philly's M.F.S.B. Some may say that there were many similarities between The Salsoul Orchestra and MFSB, which Vincent Montana also worked with. On the contrary, the Salsoul Orchestra was more of a strings based sound while M.F.S.B. was a bit more Big Band in nature with five saxophones, which to Montana never sounded quite right and which he omitted from Salsoul's lineup with the exception of the baritone sax.

The Salsoul Orchestra required tremendous amounts of production work in the studio. This is all at a time before the ubiquitous Apple Macintosh computer and automation came into the picture. Mixing twenty-four tracks was laborious, but needed to be done right especially with all those instruments. They always tried to capture the energy of the performance onto tape. Take a look at the 12" single for the track Salsoul 3001. At the bottom of the label is a notice that states "Warning: This song could blow your speakers." The engineers had a difficult time cutting that record since its dynamic content kept on damaging their cutting needles. It has been said that a system cranked to its "max" at an event in California cracked a cinder-block wall while playing this record.

Vincent Montana and Kenny Present at the mixing board in the recording studio

Vincent Montana On: A Tom Moulton Mix?

According to Vincent Montana, Kenny Present and not Tom Moulton mixed most of his original Salsoul tracks. "Kenny had great ears . . . Tom Moulton never did any of my Salsoul Orchestra tracks. Tom used to use someone named Arthur Stoppe who was a great engineer" Arthur was the one who worked the controls and actually did the work. He was also the one who recorded Magic Bird Of Fire, which was essentially recorded live after almost seven hours of preparation.

A Salsoul Christmas Is Born:

Salsoul Orchestra Christmas AlbumSalsoul Orchestra Christmas AlbumNow that Vincent Montana and The Salsoul Orchestra had proven that their sound was commercially viable they embarked on making a Christmas album that was to become a classic.

Released in 1976 the original Salsoul Christmas album cover produced a flurry of controversy and outrage because of its risqu cover art which Vincent Montana had no control over. They utilized the same photo as on Salsoul's Nice and Nasty album, of the now famous "almost bare-assed" woman sporting a T-shirt saying: "Dance your ass off to Salsoul."

Since many were offended that such a cover was used on a Christmas album someone at Salsoul quickly took a piece of paper and clumsily placed it over the model's body to make it appear as if it were a Santa suit albeit green with white fur. The wording on the T-shirt was also changed to read "Dance to Salsoul." Take a careful look at the album cover and you'll see the cheesy cover-up. Only the first few thousand in the run contained the uncensored cover. The cover girl used was Ellen Michaels, a prominent New York model who appeared on countless album covers during the 1970s and a Playboy Playmate for March, 1972.

The Split With Salsoul

More songs and albums followed for Vince Montana and the Salsoul Orchestra including collaborations with vocalists such as the incomparable Loleatta Holloway (Runaway) and Latin star Charo (Dance A Little Bit Closer).

During the years Montana was with Salsoul he was responsible for so much of its success, but nonetheless all good things must come to end. Originally Vince Montana was to have become a business partner in this new venture, but relations between he and the Cayre brothers began to deteriorate over royalty payments. This ultimately led to legal proceedings and Vincent Montana leaving the Salsoul organization. Obviously Vince was not happy with the outcome, but nonetheless says that the Cayre brothers were the ones who gave him the opportunity to expose the world to his music and for that he will always be grateful.

Vincent Montana does say that "there's no longer Salsoul Orchestra, I am Salsoul Orchestra and always will be." Apparently many had tried to take the helm after his departure, but it just never worked.

What soon followed after his split from Salsoul was the birth of The Montana Orchestra and a contract with Atlantic Records in 1978. One of the early Montana releases for Atlantic was the LP "I Love Music" and a 12" single (DSKO 104) containing the funky jazz track Warp Factor II on the "A" side and on the flip side A Dance Fantasy (music inspired by Close Encounter of the Third Kind.

Other releases on Atlantic included the 12" single (DSKO 122) #1 Dee Jay by Goody Goody which featured vocals by his oldest daughter Denise. When asked how the name Goody Goody came about, he and his wife just started to sing "Goody Goody for you . . ." #1 Dee Jay is a classic and should be in every Disco aficionados record collection.

The Formation of Philly Sound Works

By the dawning of the 1980s Vincent Montana had formed his own record label called Philly Sound Works (PSW) to put out his own product.

Salsoul Orchestra - Up the Yellow Brick RoadAmong the many releases on PSW was the track Heavy Vibes, which is still sought out by DJs today for it's awesome groove. This song actually began life as a quasi-rap song called No Football No More and was done to poke fun at the NFL strike back in 1982. Vincent Montana was surprised to find that radio stations began playing it. Club DJs also loved the instrumental riff of the song so much that a re-worked instrumental version called Heavy Vibes (Heavier Vibes) was promptly released. "Heavy" pertaining to the heavy 125 pound weight of the actual vibraharp.

Vince Montana In Today's Dance Music

It didn't end all there. Vincent Montana's unique writing and arranging qualities have been sought out by today's most well-known artists and producers. Vincent Montana has worked on many projects such as The Braxtons, Incognito, Masters At Work with Little Louie Vega/ & Kenny Dope arranging the album for Nuyorican Soul, which featured many great musicians like Tito Puente, George Benson, Roy Ayers and vocals by India on a cover of Runaway. Vincent Montana also had a hand on India's To Be In Love, which sold well over 500,000 copies. Most recently Montana worked with David Morales arranging and providing creative input on the retro sounding hit New York City Boy for the Pet Shop Boys. Vince would have loved to mix more for the "strings," but Morales won out and didn't give them as much prominence.

Although Vince Montana is firmly rooted in traditional instruments and ways, he has managed to embrace newer styles and to use technology to his advantage. In his studio he eagerly goes to work on his Apple Macintosh computer using a program called Encore to write music that at one time he would have had to laboriously write by hand. Make no mistake about it, back in the old days Vincent Montana says, "We had no automation whatsoever in the studio." He would have killed to have these toys back when he was creating the music for the Salsoul Orchestra. He feels that he could have produced even more. Recently he bought an Apple G3 PowerBook, which he takes on the road to write and compose music when the whim strikes him. He sometimes gets into a spurt and will work from eight in the morning till three the following morning.

Closeup photo of Vince Montana's personalized vibraphone

There's More To Vincent Montana Than Music

We somehow get on the topic of health to which Vincent Montana starts extolling the virtues of concentrated oregano and its many benefits. After we pop some oregano capsules our discussion turns to the "way of life" and the topic of drugs during those years. So many of Vince's peers succumbed to a life of excess most notably drugs. This all came with a high price: it cost many of them their lives.

Vincent Montana says that he never wanted anything to do with drugs even though it was all around him. He had a family and saw first hand how it could destroy great talent. Music is his drug and he has no problem producing plenty of it. Another thing is that Vincent Montana likes to keep to himself and has many hobbies to keep him occupied. With so much effort put into his music, one would think that Vince wouldn't have time for anything else, but nothing could be further from the truth.

While we are sitting at the kitchen table, Vincent Montana excuses himself and soon returns with several finely detailed model airplanes he has built. He's been doing it for as long as he can remember and his attention to detail is impeccable.

Of course just building tabletop models are no fun. He also makes actual flying models with huge wingspans of about six feet and takes them to the air with his son Vincent Montana III. These not so little guys are capable of going pretty fast and he also divulges that crash landings are not uncommon.

Besides his passion for model plane building, Vince enjoys painting with oils. He is influenced by and greatly admires the work of the Spanish painter Picasso and has reproductions of his work hanging on the walls of his home.

Vincent Montana contemplates using one of his paintings on the cover of his upcoming album and asks my opinion and of course I oblige. This new album is due out in the spring of 2000 and consists of very laid back instrumentation and soothing vibes. It's tentatively titled "This One's For You" and consists of fifteen songs. Visit Vincent Montana's website for more information or to order. The late Larry Washington made his final appearance on this album playing congas. Unfortunately, a rather young Larry passed away soon after. Vince attended the funeral and said that Bunny Sigler sang The Lord's Prayer in such a way that left everyone breathless. "Larry was a dear friend and is missed by all."

Closing Remarks

Sometime between March 31 and April 2 of 2000 the legendary vibes player, writer, producer, arranger and orchestra leader Vincent Montana Jr. will be presented with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the World Disco Classic 2000 Hustle Convention in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is meant to acknowledge his contribution and dedication to music, which has influenced and profoundly affected many artists, listeners and dancers alike. Visit the World Disco web site for more information on this historic event.

It was an honor and a privilege to have been invited to Vince Montana's home and have a chance to speak in-depth with him and his family about his career and his personal life. I sincerely thank all of them for their gracious hospitality. His passion for music, art, family and his hobbies didn't fall on deaf ears and I hope everyone has a better understanding of this very talented, but often over-looked artist. Also thanks to Drew Axlerod and Marc Fisher of the World Disco Classic organization for their assistance. Go on, pick up your copy of any Salsoul Orchestra record and experience the magic all over again.

The End

Written by Bernard Lopez (February 29, 2000)
Interview as featured on http://www.discomusic.com
Copyright © 2000 by Bernard F. Lopez
All rights reserved

Recommended Listening

View "Magic Bird of Fire" - Vincent Montana, Jr. Conducts String Session Rehearsal (1990)
Runaway the Salsoul Orchestra featuring Loleatta Holloway:

Montana - Heavy Vibes compact disc cover art Vincent Montana Jr.: Heavy Vibes
Temposphere CD and LP (2002) Finally, a fitting and complete tribute to Vince Montana Jr. and his post Salsoul Orchestra output on Philly Sound Works. This deluxe double CD set and triple vinyl release compilation brings together such grooves as Heavy Vibes, It Looks Like Love, Philly Bus Beats, Let Me Work On You and others. Vinyl includes 3 songs not on the CD. Listen to Vince jam with the likes of Earl Young, Larry Washington, Ronnie Baker, Ron Kersey, Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson and Evette Bentos. Includes liner notes with the interview you just read by DiscoMusic.com's Bernard Lopez. Now available

Related Links


Your Comments

Javier |

Gracias crecí con la musica disco gracias a mi Padre conoci a Vincent Montana Jr. Y salsoul,mi musica favorita,Vincent hizo la musica con pasion y eso a mi me gusta

Fred Rossi |

Vince was the best! I got to chat with him around the time when he did the Nuyorican Soul project with Masters At Work. Also being from South Philadelphia, we hit it off right from the start. I told him that The Vince Montana Trio played at my parents wedding reception in 1967, on Broad St at the Venus Lounge. He got a real kick out of that. I told him I love the new stuff he was doing and can't wait to hear more. Unfortunately Vince passed away.. I miss our conversations R.I.P.





Cory Ander |

I'm VERY disappointed that Montana's name has not been mentioned in any of the televised tributes to all the entertainers we've lost this year. His music means more to me than most of the others who have been mentioned.



Juvenal Gordon |

Master, among the stars, will be forever in the universe of starry sky, in peace, your music will always bring happiness to the heart and be

Eric |

Vince - Hello to Hilda - remember the 'Krispy Creme donuts in Ft. Lauderdale! TRIBUTE to Vince Montana and Loleatta Holloway - 2000
We snuck them in for both
of you to have ---

David |

No me canso de escuchar los temas de navidad de la Orquesta Salsoul, solo escucharlo en cualquiera epoca me lleva a los dias mas felices de navidad, mi mayor aprecio Vince Montana!

Carlos A. Briz Plata |

Desde que tenia 14 años en el año de 1976 compre el LP de Nice´N´Nasty de la Salsoul Orchestra por el tema de Nightcrawler, hasta este presente 2012, sigo disfrutando de ese tema, hoy gracias a la tecnologia del internet, consegui una version digital preciosa del mismo tema, siempre he disfrutado de la musica, de los años 60´s, 70´s, 80´s algo de los 90´s, generos como Rock´n Roll, rockabilly, Mercy Beat, Hard Rock, Pop, Rock Latino, Soul, Rhythym and Blues, Disco, Jazz, Salsa, actualmente me trae loco el Ambiance Lounge, pero siempre Nightcrawler sera mi pieza favorita, Gracias a Vince Montana y a la Orquesta Salsoul.

Ian |

Hello. ..am looking for the title of a Montana disco piece c.1977 which featured several false endings and repeated "One more time..." after brief pauses.... heard it in an after hours disco somewhere in centre city, maybe an old church or theatre... used to have the album but the ex got it... any help on this?

disconights77 |

Well done! For people who are Disco history buffs & fans this article never gets old. Through this article, I learned a lot about the history of Vincent Montana @ Philly as a session musician, arranger and/or producer with all those great R&B artists. Then he moved on and started and wrote all those great songs for the Salsoul Orchestra a sound we all loved to listen to... Vincent's music took the Hustle and the Latin Hustle to another level for us dancers back in the day (70s). Thank You Vincent Montana for the great sound which has lasted my peers and I a lifetime since we were teens growing up in the streets of NYC... Bernard great article. Thanks for bringing us the memories...


Dearest Vince, this non profit organization VRS - Vicenza Radio Star and its group of music lovers have revived from the ashes of the 80s a great sound machine that was operating in this area of Northern Italy at that time.... we are playing on the web just the music of the time practically using the same play-lists of the era....
besides your music and songs, we'd love to have a few words from you that we would add to the music programming that will with no doubt up grade our output and the overall format with a real touch of magic...
your voices saying:

"hi this is ............, i am like you a music fan of Vicenza Radio Star"
"Vrs is the best music, trust me i am..........always on Radio Star"
"hey listeners of the big star this is ..........stay tuned for some of the greatest hits.............on Radio Star
"welcome to the music of VRS, welcome from your host, HI this is ..............."

please, just choose one of the above mentioned lines and add your name where necessary. Sing it, scream it, say it loud, it doesn't matter how, but please take a small second of your time, record it on any audio format and email it to us at


and should you wish to make something different, something really of your own, dedicated to us and our radio, please let yourself go and do it...we will take and play whatever...
we will add these great documents to our programing and let me tell you the knots of our friendship, the honor of having you on our "air" will be tied forever and will repay all our efforts to keep this music dream alive

Thanks for the effort, thanks for your music ...and just using a line of Andrew Gold "thank you for being a friend"


William"Smoke"Howard |

Hey Vince!
Always remember to just SAY IT.. say i love you no matter the situation because!
"That's What Love Does"


Marcus |

I happened to discover “That’s What Love Does” not long ago. It’s a shame that the song couldn’t find a niche in our local radios.
There are not many songs that I would listen in a loop. This one is one of them.
Good thing that they’ve made it in different flavors. I am a disciple of multiple versions.
It’s a great result of experience in writing, producing, arranging and mastering one of the main music styles of the era.
I would have paid $$ to be in the studio during the recording.
…A timeless production to play LOUD.
Don’t get mistaken. This ain’t “chill”. This is D.I.S.C.O.

Keep 'em coming

- Marcus

Vicenza Radio Star |

We love very much all V.M. Jr. music and also play a lot of MFSB and Salosoul Orchestra stuff on our radio show. We would like to have more to play, but it is not so easy to get it in Italy. Thanks anyway for you beautiful, amazing sound.


Dwayne Holt |

There Are no words good enough to describe "Vince Montana" To me the idea and creation of the salsoul orchestra was "Brilliant" the true start of disco was his first album in 1975 titled "SALSOUL ORCHESTRA" this is when and where disco was born from the philly sound! Everything from everybody else scince has just been a copy. Vince Montana had inside hands on expeience on the inner-workings of the philly orchestra "MFSB" he was one of the original and main members. So when it came to the formation of the Salsoul Orchestra it couldn't help but be a "Powerhouse". I was only 13 years old in 1975, the first record off the album I herd was "Tangerine" on radio station WWRL {Super 16} 1600 AM. DJs Garry Byrd and Bobby Jay use to play it all the time.WWRL was the biggest "Black R&B Soul Station in New York at thay time. I believe WWRL may have been the first station to play that record in New York, but in a short time it crossed over and was herd most of New York. I thought it was a completely different sound than anything I had herd. It was "Hipnotic Bliss". I love Gamble & Huff-MFSB. But the SalSoul Orchestra was quite different. To me MFSB was more smooth and jazzy, The Salsoul Orchestra was more raw and funky.

vyniljunkie |

What can one say about Vince, he was a inspiration to all. There were so many hits, you can't begin to list them. TANGERINE was a crossover hit that was even played on WABC am radio in New York, which meant that it was heard as far south as Virginia and as far north as Boston. That put DISCO in everyones car!! My personal favorite was MAGIC BIRD OF FIRE. What my sound system and computerized light show would do while it played was amazing. The drums blasting first from one speaker, then to another, ans so-forth. It made a Quadraphonic sound system sound like the music was coming from outer space. YOU'RE ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS is still my favorite holiday song. NASTY was so nasty, the women would sing and play along to it. I could go on and on. I remember them blowing the roof off the building at ROSELAND and at RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL. Some of the ROCKETTES were personal friends of mine, and I was told that The SalSoul Orchestra were the most fun shows they worked!! That tells you alot. Thank you Vince.

marcelo |

I love V M,jr music, keep on creating!!!

michael williams |

another living legend get him into the studio lets have more from the great man

Sergio |

Hi, I need to know where I can find the disc with the song "You Know How Good It Is", this song is the album I Love The Music of Vincent Montana Jr.

radionic |

It was his production influence and his style that made the Goody Goody LP really shine. Considering that Lp has been sampled numerous times, just goes to show how important it became for early House heads who had to have that tight percussion.

peace, Radionic

rkz |

To Vincent: I must say that even now that I am a man of the clothe (inactive) you really had some church pew members shaking their rear down the aile many a times. Including me! I still do!

I was but 10 or 11 when I was turned on to Salsoul and I miss that kind of serious workmanship. (Notice that workmanship also has WORSHIP in it)

You are blessed and I hope that one day you can honor God with a heavenly colaboration of music along with some of the best performers of gospel. That is my petition and I trust you have the power and given auhtority to do so.

With respect,
Roberto Reyes
Bronx N.Y.

Gene_Leone_Mix |

Hi Vince!

I just joined this site this morning, and damn, I see everybody's been here already for a while! *lol*
See Ya Again Soon!
MuchLove To All!

Gene Leone


Tom moulton only did one of my mixes that I approved of which is Close Ecounters on Atlantic. Not the whole album.

Im telling you all Kenny Present mixed almost all of my productions.

Heres a peice of advice

Whenever success comes to you beware of the green monster of jealousy.


I dont know what promo album Tom Moulton is talking about, but anyway everyone thought I was crazy for coming up with the Salsoul Orchestra Idea but my sound is still around 35 years later.(beautiful dance music!!!)

Tom cant write or play music so I dont understand how he can pass judgement on me. and to the above who praise me for my work thank you and GOD BLESS YOU.

this is the first time i saw the comments 5/9/06

Esteban |

I saw the Salsoul Orchestra at Radio City Music Hall back in 1974, 1975 or 1976. Not sure when. I'm looking for the exact dates of the concert and what other performers appeared at the show.

Delmar Browne |

Vince Montana's accomplishments has the vibes!

Thanks for sending me "Heavy Vibes!"

Robert N. Griffith |

Vince is a guy I have always respected,along with his Baker Harris Young contemporaries. They'll never be guys this talented again. Many props to them.

tommoulton |

It strikes me funny that after Vince rants on about how I never did anything for him you have to insult me with showing a promo album that he asked me to mix for him? if one has a good eye they can see it. This guy is crazy...Tom Moulton ala A TOM MOULTON MIX

PS I am dam sick and tired of this idiot saying things and then on the records has my name. I don't take credit for something I don't do and most of his stuff I don't Kenny Present is a great engineer and I admire him even more for being able to put up with him. Over and out Warp Factor11

Disconay |

As a mallet musician and a fan of the salsoul orchestra. I have listened to the albums hundreds of times .

disco fan from brasil |

Excellent interview with this brilliant producer. His version of I Love Music (the OJays hit) is marvellous, and a minor hit here in Brasil, in discos and radios. It was included here in Disco Magic compilation LP, to be exact. And the salsoul beat is one of the best trademarks of the disco era, in my opinion.


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