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FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE
Paul Marinaro – Vocals
Ben Paterson – Piano
Andy Brown – Guitar
Joe Policastro – Bass
Mikel Patrick Avery – Drums
One Night in Chicago is Marinaro’s sophomore release and first live album, recorded at the High Hat Club.
As was the case on his debut, Without A Song, Marinaro sings with an urbane sophistication reminiscent of Connick Jr. and Tyrell, but very much his own musical personality. In particular, Marinaro really thrives in the meaty middle and lower ranges of his voice, decorating his tone in those ranges with notable sheen. Backed by an all-star Chicago rhythm section, the live setting works wonders, allowing Marinaro and his fellow musicians to thrive in a looser backdrop. Marinaro especially seems to enjoy the setting, performing a collection of standards with extra swing and verve.
The musicians provide the perfect straight-ahead rhythm section for this setting and all four instrumentals complement Marinaro’s vocals with outstanding solos throughout. Brown and Paterson are a particular potent duo, as many musicians will note piano and guitar do not always make for the easiest accompaniment partners. Brown and Paterson not only avoid stepping on each other’s toes, but also are magical comping partners. They blend the unique textures of their instruments in a way reminiscent of the ultimate masters at this art form—Wes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly—without once taking away from Marinaro’s vocal interpretation.
The group leads off the album with “I’m Just A Lucky So and So.” Marinaro capitalizes ever so much on the pitch-perfect rhythm section feel and sings the old standard with gusto. The Bob Dorough classic, “Devil May Care,” is a perfect foil for Marinaro who executes it with nimble swing. Another pearl is “No Moon At All,” which Marinaro dedicates to the great Anita O’Day.
Both Marinaro and bassist Policastro really shine on “Don’cha Go ‘Way Mad,” which begins as a charismatic vocal/bass duo. Marinaro really lets loose on the finale track, Duke Ellington’s classic “Caravan.” The icing on the cake is the stellar drum introduction from Avery and Paterson’s nimble-fingered solo.
One Night is an excellent recording to pick up, especially to hear Marinaro in a live setting.