Music Review by Katrina Charles
Swing Your Thing is the thirteenth album and latest release from Fort Wayne, Indiana-based pianist, composer, and recording engineer Tony Marino. The ten-song album is a collection of lively, upbeat compositions that will transport you to a time of smoky lounges, big bands, and triple-steps galore. A jazz album at its heart, Swing Your Thing captures a timeless sound with Marino’s own modern voice.
The first song on the album is title track “Swing Your Thing”, a tune that doesn’t play around with quiet introductions. With a big band brawl, you are whisked into the world of high hat taps and confident horns. There won’t be a toe that’s not tapping as the piano riff breaks out of the orchestration and tells its own story before expertly falling in line with the rest of the instruments. “Quite Frankly” is up next with a duet of saxophone and flute melodies that weave intricately with the fluttering piano. This is a song that will make you crave a drink with an olive garnish.
“Matthew’s Samba” offers a slightly different perspective with a Latin-infused rhythm full of fun surprises. “My Ladies” is up next; a tune with a thoughtful, wistful tone and rhythmic chords that create an interesting, unexpected foundation for the melodies floating above. The song ends with a bang that will leave you wanting more.
The next track on the album is “Fatherly Advise”, another song driven with rhythmic piano chords supporting flute and saxophone melodies over light, consistent drums. The saxophone gets a soulful moment with raw, raspy cracks that create an intriguing texture in the otherwise squeaky-clean song.
“Biagio” changes the flow beginning with a chorus of various percussion before the melody slowly builds around it in an uplifting way. The song features a call and response between various instruments in an organized chaos that is the perfect mid-album pallet cleanser. “Hoppy” comes in strong with more jazz-driven instrumentation and catchy, unpredictable turns. A satisfying piano melody gets back to the root of the genre and reinvigorates the cohesive theme of the album before syncopated drum breaks are introduced catching you pleasantly off guard.
The next song, “A Jam For Paquito”, revisits the recurring Latin influences with a rhythm worthy of a second wind. Melodies run at the speed of light over classic chord voicings that transport you to a sparsely lit dance floor under the starlight.
Penultimate track “As Good As It Gets” continues the Latin theme with flowy instrumentation that seems to showcase the recurring elements of the previous songs in an energetic summarization that maintains Marino’s signature thrill of the unexpected.
The final song “Blues for Claudio” begins with an orchestra of percussion atop a subtle but effective bassline before the piano comes in strong with Latin chords and melodies. This song is a shapeshifter of sorts as it evolves into a jazzy lounge tune before changing direction towards the big band sound the album begins with. Much like “As Good As It Gets”, “Blues for Claudio” serves as the perfect wrap-up by revisiting the album’s musical themes and melodies.
Swing Your Thing is an incredibly crafted collection of songs that showcase Tony Marino’s knowledge and understanding of jazz, Latin jazz, and music as a whole. With expert musicianship, satisfying cohesion, and a flare for the unexpected, this release truly exemplifies Marino’s ability to craft engaging, exciting music that will make you, for lack of a more fitting term, swing your thing.
Note: Swing Your Thing follows three Global Award winning albums ….
Que Pasa (2020) — described as “the kind of music with the uniqueness, skill, and sound, you come back to”, Tango Silhouette (2019) — with it’s “exquisite orchestrations“. Plus, Family and Friends (2019) — said to be “superb, infectious and uplifting“.