At first blush, Chicago singer Paul Marinaro's debut recording, Without A Song, is a well-meaning vanity recording that turns out to be...well, well-meaning. That impression is forgivable only for those not living in the Chicago area. Further reading reveals that this recording had its genesis in some 78 rpm acetates Marinaro found of his father singing the Frank Sinatra hits of the day, that "day" being 1947. What Without A Song is, is an exquisitely programmed 21st century love letter from a son to his father. Any fear that this is one more banker who thinks he can sing jazz is dispelled when the recording switches from Joseph Marinaro singing in 1947 to Paul Marinaro singing nearly 70 year later. In that it is a well-executed conceptnot new, but more gracefully done than previously heard.
Marinaro has been a regional draw in Chicago for the past decade when he moved there from his native Buffalo, NY, where his 85-year old father still lives. Without A Song had been on his mind most of his life when finally he joined with some savvy engineers to work a bit of magic that leaves Natalie Cole's and Hank Williams, Jr. duets with their respective fathers seemingly in another era. Marinaro weaves his father's material using bookends "Intro and Outro 1947," establishing the context for the entire recording.
In the near center of the recording is an impressive bit of wizardry where the younger and elder Marinaro's duet, separated by 66 years. That the elder Marinaro is present to hear this is the gravy of this story. But Without A Song passes far beyond a human interest story. Paul Marinaro possesses a beautifully balanced vocal instrument that reveals few, if any, flaws. He provides a sonically updated snapshot, sans the sepia of the late 1940s' hit parade. "That Old Black Magic," I Get A Kick Out of You," and "I've Got The World On a String" all pop with a freshness given partially to the excellent sonics and Marinaro's fresh voice and pristine instrumental support.
Track Listing: Intro 1947; That Old Black Magic; Fools Rush In; Devil May Care; All
My Tomorrows; When I Look Into Your Eyes; I Have Dreamed; I Get A Kick
Out Of You; Everything Must Change; You Will Be My Music; I’ve Got The
World On A String; Because Of You; For All We Know; May The Music
Never End; Outro 1947; Without A Song.
Personnel: Paul Marinaro: vocals (2-14); Joseph Marinaro (1, 10, 15);
Chris Sargent: piano (2, 4, 7, 16); Chris White: piano (8, 12-14); Judy Roberts: piano
(9); Tom Vaitsas: piano, string pad (10, 15);
Andy Brown: guitar (3, 5, 6, 11); Joe Policastro: bass (2-5, 7, 8, 10-14) Jon Deitemyer:
drums (2-5, 7, 8, 10-14); Greg Fishman: tenor
saxophone (8, 12, 13); Marielle De Rocca-Serra: violin (14) .
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.