Tony Marino recently dropped Thank You for the Music, an album of original jazz tunes inspired by Astor Piazzolla, Joao Donato, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, and Thelonious Monk.
Marino grew up in South Philly, where, after hearing Leon Russell, he decided to take piano lessons. He was seven years old at the time. Later, he studied with Bill DelGovenatore and Tom Lawton, both of whom turned him on to jazz. He dropped his first album in 1997, called Tony Marino & Havana Heat: The Latin Jazz Project.
Nine albums later, Marino says, “At this point, I am dedicated to becoming a better musician and creating original music encompassing various forms of jazz specializing in Latin jazz and bop.”
Jazz Fusion and Tropical Flavors
“Astor’s Prologue” begins with a frantic piano and a drawling saxophone juxtaposed against a flute, followed by a slapping bass and pealing xylophone. The harmonics provide a dualistic wobble, giving the tune an experimental jazz fusion flavor that’s delightfully jarring. “Mr. Donato” rides a smooth Latin jazz melody full of optimistic colors, along with a delicious trombone and a sparkling xylophone solo. A mellow flute adds tropical hues as the exuberant rhythm gambols with contagious energy.
“Charlie Parker” travels on a cavernously slapping bassline thrumming with dark tones, while bright horns bray overhead. When the piano jumps in, the piece gambols with be-bopping energy. The runs on the bass infuse the tune with briskness. I love the warm warble of the flute. And let’s not forget the drummer, who really parades his knack for innovative tempo and great breaks and fills. “Dizzy’s Moods” begins with dark flavors from the bass and piano, followed by layers of multifarious harmonic elements coalescing into cool runs, daubs of sonic color, bluesy injections, and tempo variations.
Aggressive Drums, Staggered Harmonics
“Monk Island” packs a discordant punch that’s almost experimental and avant-garde in harmonic perspective. The aggressive drums, especially the hiss of the hi-hat and slurring snare/tom combination infuses the tune with an ebullient frenetic dynamism, as the brass and reeds emanate supercharged sonic tints with intersecting coloration.
“Moody” delivers an exotically-flavored bebop melody that glistens with translucent pigments, as the sax, trombone, and flute mirror each other with glossy tones. “Astor’s Epilogue” picks up where the prologue left off, slightly off-balance as the staggered harmonics swell with serial disharmony that, rather than being skittish, provides cryptic sonic dislocations rife with waggish resonance.
Thank You for the Music is stellar, as it imparts a stylish, imaginative overview of the greatest names and stylistic nuances of jazz. Marino’s unique compositions exude elegance and odd tickles of emotion with artistic flair. If you’re into jazz, then Thank You for the Music is a must-listen to release.