PAUL MARINARO - BIRDLAND BOUND
If you have been around the Chicago music scene for the last decade, you surely have had the opportunity to enjoy the classic jazz tunes and standards from the Great American Songbook performed by Paul Marinaro. Perhaps you have seen him at Katerina’s back in the day, which in 2016 terms is only a few years ago, or at The Green Mill Jazz Club, Jazz Showcase or the magnificent Auditorium Theater. Any night with Paul Marinaro in the room is going to be a very memorable experience.
And coming up, a New York audience will have an opportunity to enjoy his dynamic musical talents at the debut of the Paul Marinaro Quartet at Birdland on Sunday, October 30th. We caught up with Paul on October 11th to talk about his musical career, the Birdland show, what’s coming up next, and a dog named Titus.
Listen to entire podcast HERE
When asked to reconsider his tribute album Without a Song showcasing his father’s vocals from an old rehearsal tape …
“It was suggested to me that ‘your father, he was very special to you, but he wasn’t Nat King Cole … people aren’t going to understand what these old recordings are.’ I almost listened, and it’s because my father wasn’t Nat King Cole and people didn’t know who he was that I thought it was even more important … the concept of the album was even more important because it speaks to every man and woman who has ever had a dream but didn’t pursue it and thought that it didn’t matter.”
On what attracts him to certain songs ...
“[They] don’t necessarily have to have lyrics that knock you over … If I’m going to approach a ballad, I have to connect to it somehow. That’s melody and lyric ... I use the term loosely because I don’t like labels, necessarily … but as a jazz-influenced vocalist, you look for material that has a strong harmonic sense because that’s where the musicians you surround yourself with are going to shine … that’s what they’re going to be able to put their stamp on.”
On Sinatra's singing style ...
“Jazz singer? The best answer is, who cares … Sinatra was my gateway, through my father’s introduction to him and my own study of his massive body of work … At his best he was a highly influenced jazz singer in the sense that he used his voice in a way that would have been considered incorrect in the theater realm, in the classical realm. He would hold a consonant if he thought it gave more meaning to the phrase … beautiful vocal production yet not perfect and there’s something human about that that makes you listen more closely to how he was trying to interpret the song.”
The influence of Katerina’s nightclub …
“It was such an interesting realization for me because not only did I feel as if I was coming into my own, as who I wanted to be as a singer, I realized something else, though, that was very important, and that’s the audience. They always say ‘Know your audience and deliver to them,' and I would add that you have to understand who you are as a performer – who you want to be – and if you can, try to cultivate that audience; you need to know how to find that audience and cultivate that and keep them … that’s the audience you want to sing to … they have been very faithful to me, the audience I have built here, and they have always allowed me to do the songs I have wanted to do … allowed me to grow.”
On the debut at Birdland October 30th …
“That’s the culmination of a dream. There are venues that you say their name and they hold weight. Birdland is one of those. I would say in the jazz world, I would go beyond that. It’s one of those names that just resonates with people. The owner, Johnny Valenti, runs a fantastic club. I have been a fan of Birdland since the first time I went there … he (Valenti) had heard about the album to my father. A big help there was Jonathan Schwartz, famous DJ, author and performer in New York … He was the first to play it in New York and he played it one afternoon, and it just floored me. … He played most of the album on his Sunday show, talked about me and each week he would play a little more ... and he started saying things like, ‘well, this guy’s website shows he’s only performing in Chicago … Paul, if you’re listening, why don’t you come to New York?’ So (Johnny) heard about it then … it took awhile … but, he leaned over one of the last times I was there to see Benny Green and he said ‘I have a Sunday in October. Do you want it?’ I said. ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Well, I didn’t tell you the date.’ I said, ‘Yes. I’ll take it.’"
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATIONS PODCAST HERE
VISIT PAUL MARINARO'S WEBSITE HERE
BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB HERE
JAZZ SHOWCASE VIDEO HERE
HOWARD REICH CHICAGO TRIBUNE FEATURE HERE