it’s an interesting thing about Tony Marino

Tony Marino “the quintessential Latin jazz keyboardist” – is twenty albums in and only getting stronger and stronger. Writing, composing and producing original music over the last two decades is no small feat.  However, it seems to be one that Tony Marino has seemingly pulled off – and with plenty of stellar reviews.

Growing up in South Philly …

a 7-year-old Tony heard Leon Russell and decided that he wanted to take piano lessons.  Unlike other 7-year-olds, Tony continued playing and eventually began studying, in his early teens, with pianist Bill DelGovenatore – who slowly but surely introduced Tony to the music of jazz legends, beginning with Thelonious Monk. 

While absorbing all he could from his lessons with Bill,  Tony was also working at a local music store – allowing him the privilege of meeting other jazz musicians such as Frank DiBussolo and Al Stauffer.  Eventually, Bill introduced Tony to Tom Lawton, another familiar Philadephia pianist.  Lawton became Tony’s last Philadelphia piano teacher. 

The final brick in Tony’s jazz wall was an introduction to Ernest (Hoppy) Hopkins; Tony credits all of these musicians as fueling his passion for music, especially jazz.

Professional Work …

In 1975, while a freshman in high school, Marino joined the Philadelphia Italian-American band called Idea ’71. The band played popular Philadelphia and Tri-State area venues. While Marino was with Idea ’71 (1975-1982), they recorded the album Supersano, at Virtue Recording Studios and a record (Medley Records) with the songs Sweet Hometown & We Were Happy (B side) at Alpha International Recording Studios.

In May 1995, Tony relocated to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Afraid he was leaving behind the music he loved, Marino was pleased to find a small jazz community in his new state.

It wasn’t long before Marino met some of the area’s finest musicians and “Tony Marino and Havana Heat” was formed. With a successful debut at Henry’s (Dec 95), Marino and the band became regulars at many local clubs, venues & corporate events.

“Tony Marino and Havana Heat” was also a featured band at Foellinger Theather, Botanical Gardens, Three River’s Festival and performed for the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s 75th Anniversary celebration (1996).

Tony Marino debuted his first original work in 1997 …

with Tony Marino & Havana Heat: The Latin Jazz Project. He has been churning out album after album since, to critical acclaim.  Tony’s been called “one hell of a talented pianist” and his musicianship has been described as “flawless, skillful and captivating”. 

This was followed by a solo project Note for Note. Songs from both cds were played on the local radio station, WBNI FM and in fact, Marino wrote and dedicated a song “WBNI 89.1 FM” before the station changed its name to WBOI 89.1.

April 1999. Marino moved to Folsom, CA for a brief time and while there jammed with some area musicians. November of 2000, Marino moved back to Ft. Wayne, and picked up where he left off but, at this point, renamed the band “Tony Marino’s Latin Jazz Sounds” to better describe the band’s genres. Marino started focusing more on writing, composing and recording and released 4 CDs from 2001 to 2006.

In 2002, Marino published a songbook, that included the sheet music of his original compositions from his first 3 CDs, encompassing various Latin styles of music: samba, bossa nova, frevo, tango, montuno, bolero, bebop, swing, and calypso, for C, Bb, and Eb instruments. The songbook, The Latin Jazz Project was sold through Jamey Aebersold.

From 2008 to 2012, Marino moved to South Jersey and then to North Jersey soaking in all that was offered from the jazz scene in the surrounding areas. In 2012, Marino moved to Santa Barbara, CA. While there, Marino regularly attended Jeff Elliott Jazz Jams sessions at SOhO and was able to play with many notable musicians, including Jeff Elliott, Randy Tico, Lorenzo Martinez, Ruben Martinez, Rene Martinez, Chris Judge, Robert Hart, Vince Denham, Donna Greene, Greg Loeb, Rex Harte, Dennis Berger, Brendan Statom, Alberto Negroni, Frode Holm, Brad Rabuchin and many other great musicians.

Marino’s time in Santa Barbara, from 2012 to 2016, inspired him to continue to write and record music that he would dedicate to friends, family and mentors that had touched Marino’s life over the years. After settling back into Fort Wayne, Marino recorded 101 in 2016 and a Sound Inve$Tment in 2017.

“As a musician it sometimes pays to stop and look back at the reason you became a musician in the first place, to acknowledge those who came before you, whose music inspired you to try to follow in their footsteps. That is exactly what Tony Marino has done with his last album, Thank You For The Music, which includes original compositions honoring and dedicated in turn to Astor Piazzolla, Joao Donato, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, & James Moody, and each in turn capturing something of each of these jazz greats spirit.”[1]

In 2019, Marino released Tango Silhouette and Family and Friends. Tango Silhouette is an exhilarating tango album inspired by his maternal grandmother’s Argentinian roots and won a Global Music Award.[2] Family and Friends featured some of the best classic elements of Latin Jazz inspired by Marino’s family and friends [3], and the song Gary also won a Global Music Award.

Through the years, Marino managed to experience living in various cities, from the East to the Mid West and the West Coast, carrying his love for music wherever he would go. Along the way, he managed to study with masters of the craft, including Breno Sauer who exposed him to Brazilian Jazz (Samba, Boss nova, Partido alto, Frevo, Baiao, & Tango), Jose Valdez (Afro Cuban and Montuno piano), Jim Trumpeter, Laurence Hobgood, and Mark Soskin, (Harmony, & Improvisation), among others.

All of this has helped Tony Marino to continue creating original compositions released over the years on several albums including Que Pasa [Que Pasa Latin jazz] (2020), Swing Your Thing [Global Music Award big band], (2021), Rhythm and Dues [Global Music Award Broad & Porter] (2021), Cold Pizza (2022).

2023 ushered in 3 new albums from Tony Marino. Original Piano Pieces (Jan 9, 2023) featuring 16 tracks in total, which include remixes, originals and more; Low Keyed (Jan 18, 2023) dedicated to all the people who keep their cool and maintain peace under any circumstance; and World Music Blues (Jan 27, 2023) with ten compositions that are based on chord progressions typically used in the blues but vary from major and minor key signatures, different time signatures and music genres from around the world.

Although 2023 started off on a musical note, a serious injury caused by a neighbor’s unleashed 75-pound pup resulted in a torn left bicep in early June 2023 and would delay any further projects for the year and into 2024. The road to recovery, from surgery to months of therapy, was extremely painful and challenging but filled with determination.

Before the incident, Marino had already started working on a few songs. However, it was during a set back in his physical therapy, where he discovered the transformative power of the Taubman Method designed for injured pianists.

Now, after months of dedication and perseverance, Marino is thrilled to unveil his collection of 10 original compositions. These musical creations not only showcase his talent but also radiate positivity and tranquility. Despite the setbacks, the music was a beacon of light through the pain and difficulties.

Marino dedicates Friday Night, his 20th album to date, to all that helped him through this difficult period of time … his team of doctors, physical therapist, and his wife.

It is not just his work, his compositions and melodies that has earned Tony respect and love all over the world, but it is also his down to earth nature and creativity that makes him loved by all. Listen to his work once and the experience will leave you in awe of it for a lifetime!

Discography

  • Friday Night (April 8, 2024)
  • World Music Blues (Jan 27, 2023)
  • Low Keyed (Jan 18, 2023)
  • Original Piano Pieces (Jan 9, 2023)
  • Family and Friends (Remix)(Bonus Tracks) (2022)
  • Cold Pizza (2022)
  • Rhythm and Dues (2021)
  • Swing Your Thing (2021)
  • Que Pasa (2020)
  • Tango Silhouette (2019)
  • Family and Friends (2019)
  • Thank You for the Music (2018)
  • Sound Investment (2017)
  • 101 (2016)
  • A Tune For Matt (never released to the public) (2007)
  • It’s Not That Complicated (2006)
  • 5 (2005)
  • Broad Street (2004)
  • Samba De Say Party (2001)
  • Note For Note (1999)
  • Tony Marino & Havana Heat: The Latin Jazz Project (1997)

Books

  • Tony Marino’s Latin Jazz Sounds Fake Book  (contains sheet music for 1st Three CDs) (2003)
Tony Marino music icon

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