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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) .
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.