It took more than 20 years for Tony Monaco to fight it out in the trenches to become an international sensation.
The Columbus native, who grew up on the North Side, is known for his tremendous jazz repertoire and ubiquitous Hammond B3 organ.
The Tony Monaco Trio, which includes drummer Louie Tsamous and guitarist Derek DiCenzo, will play at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 20, in Frank Fetch Park as part of the Third Sunday Concert Series. The park is located on Beck Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.
The concert is free and open to the public. If it rains, the concert will be moved inside the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.
Monaco said he will play mostly jazz standards and a few originals during the 90-minute show.
"It won't be a rock show, but it will be funky and swingin' man," he said.
Jerry Glick said Friends of Frank Fetch Park, which organizes the shows, has been able to get impressive acts in recent years.
"We're very excited about it," Glick said of Monaco's visit. "We've been able to get three international artists in a row over three years."
Next year, the organization will get an even a greater diversity of musical acts, Glick said.
Monaco, 54, has been playing music since he was 7 and has been a professional musician for 35 years.
He said he grew up listening to Jimmy Smith and local jazz organists Hank Marr and Don Patterson, who had a major influence on his sound.
He said he's experimented with other instruments, but there's only one original.
"The Hammond B3 has got a sound that only the B3 can match," he said. "Whenever I can, I bring the real deal because it makes me feel good."
Monaco, who now lives in Westerville, said he played regionally for more than 20 years until he met Joey DeFrancesco, considered among the top jazz organists in the United States and beyond.
DeFrancesco produced a CD for Monaco in 2001 and got him an international audience.
That, of course, meant traveling the world to promote his records.
"That's when I started making waves and got attention," he said. "You can't just rest on it. You've got to pursue it."
And he's kept busy, teaching lessons online, producing new material and flying off to Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and parts of Europe -- wherever he's popular.
Monaco is working on a new CD with guitarist Fareed Haque and drummer Greg Fundis. The record, Furry Flippers, will feature mostly originals and a few standards.
He hits the road again in September.
"You have to go where the action is, so to speak," Monaco said.