Vincent Montana, Jr. may be unknown to the vast majority of people but his music and playing was heard by millions from playing on hits by hundreds of artists to being a member of MFSB, crafting the Sound of Philadelphia and founding the Salsoul Orchestra. Montana died on Saturday at the age of 86.
Montana started as a percussionist, playing in Philadelphia studio sessions on such notable records as the Soul Survivor’s Expressway to Your Heart, the Delfonics’ La La Means I Love You and the O’Jays’ Love Train. He did much of his recording at Sigma Studios in Philly where he was best known for playing the vibraphone but also was a master of drums, bells, chimes, marimbas and timpani.
Montana eventually branched out, taking on arranging work for many of Philadelphia International’s roster along with writing and producing for the group that he founded, The Salsoul Orchestra.
In his later years, Montana became involved in the Electronica scene, working with the house music duo Masters at Work and the Pet Shop Boys.
Montana was scheduled to be honored with the unveiling of his star on the Philadelphia Walk of Fame later in the year. Philadelphia Music Alliance chairman Joseph Tarsia issued a statement saying “In the midst of planning his October induction into the Walk of Fame, it is with deep sympathy that Philadelphia Music Alliance sends the Vincent Montana family its sincere regrets on the news of his passing.
“Musician, arranger, producer, and friend, Vince was an intricate part of what was known around the world as the ‘Philadelphia Sound.’ Vince Montana Jr. will be sorely missed by the Philadelphia music community and music lovers around the world.”
His star will be unveiled in October.
A sampling of major records on which Vincent Montana, Jr. played:
- Expressway to Your Heart – Soul Survivors
- The Horse – Chris Nobles and Company
- Hey There Lonely Girl – Eddie Holman
- La La Means I Love You – Delfonics
- Cowboys to Girls – Intruders
- Backstabbers – O’Jays
- Love Train – O’Jays
- I Love Music – O’Jays
- A Brand New Me – Dusty Springfield
- You Are Everything – Stylistics
- Betcha By Golly Wow – Stylistics
- Break Up to Make Up – Stylistics
- Drowning in a Sea of Love – Joe Simon
- Me and Mrs. Jones – Billy Paul
- The Love I Lost – Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
- Could It Be I’m Falling in Love – Spinners
- I’ll Be Around – Spinners
- Disco Inferno – Trammps
- Gonna Take a Miracle – Laura Nyro and LaBelle
- Side Show – Blue Magic
- TSOP – MFSB