Building a career in music is not an easy thing to do. It takes persistence and true determination along with skill and a little bit of luck. We recently had the chance to chat with innovative Jazz artist Tony Marino about his 20 year career making music. Enjoy the interview here:
What first drew you to creating music? I always loved music, I remember listening to the radio and hearing songs from the “Leon Russell and Marc Benno Look Inside the Asylum Choir” album when it was first released in 1968 (I was 7 years old). That was the first album I purchase. Leon and Marc’s music is what inspired me to start taking piano lessons that same year.
How would you describe the sound of Tony Marino? In my early teens, I started working at Sam D’Amico’s music store in South Philly. This is where I met and started studying music with Philadelphia pianist Bill DelGovenatore. While working at the store I was lucky to have met many of the local musicians, as well as musicians passing through town that needed repairs and/or equipment. While studying with Bill, he turned me on to many forms of music. He introduced me to Monk, Horace Silver, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Gato Barbieri, Monty Alexander, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Eddie and Charlie Palmieri, Jobim, Bach, Mozart, Glenn Gould and many other composers and musicians. As the years have progressed and I continued to study and play with other musicians and listen to many forms of music, my sound has evolved & expanded and really is a combination of BeBop, Straight Ahead, Swing, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Tango, Classical, Blues, Funk and Rock.
Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?
Bill DelGovenatore, Rev. Ernie Hopkins, Tom Lawton, Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Jose Valdes, Breno Sauer, Neusa Sauer, Mark Soskin, Astor Piazzolla, Dizzy Gillespie, Carlos Franzetti and Hermeto Pascoal.
You moved around a lot, how were you able to find a Jazz music scene wherever you were?
Fortunately, every place we lived I was able to make contacts by networking, going to see local jazz musicians at venues where we lived and attending jam sessions. It is even easier now using social networking.
After a 20 year career and 11 albums, what still drives you to make music?
All the music I write is inspired by life experiences, my family, my friends and places we lived. There is always someone or something that inspires me to play and to compose.
How does a song come to you? What is your songwriting process? There is no single way that I am inspired or a single process that I use to write music. Sometimes it starts with chord changes, a rhythm, a melody or a bassline. I do not have a set process for composing. The one thing I always do is let the idea grow and not force it to go in any direction other than where it grows on its own.
Give us some advice for young artists looking to build a long career in music?
Learn as much as you can about music, business and your instrument, always be polite, learn from your mistakes, never be late always be at least a half hour early, make sure you are dressed appropriately, never take drugs, do not use alcohol, do not smoke, make sure your equipment always works, make sure you have dependable transportation, stay out of gossip, minimize interacting with negative people, be prepared for rehearsals and shows, remember when you go to a show you are there as a service and you are there to make the band sound good, always make good on your commitments, always be professional and have a backup career.
What does the future hold for Tony Marino?
I am working on original music for a CD that we are planning to release in 2020 and then a tentative project will be a jazz CD of Big Band arrangements of original music that will be released late 2020 or early 2021. I will continue to listen to new music and study on my own.