Samba De Say Party?
Tony Marino

by Kevin Hiatt

Listening to Samba De Say Party? by local composer and producer Tony Marino reminded me of my years living in Miami, Florida back during the 1980s. The neighborhood I lived in was always filled with different strains of Latino music, mostly of the Cuban salsa variety. There were also numerous supper clubs on Miami Beach that offered floor shows similar to the old Tropicana night club in Havana, complete with dancing girls and orchestra. Many of those sounds are captured on this CD, although the Afro-Cuban rhythms are infused with progressive jazz harmonies and swinging jazz bass lines.

The opening track “ Samba de Say Party” offers a bouncing meringue beat (I think) which is complemented by a jazz bebop-influenced piano solo. Tony Marino shows himself to be an accomplished composer, arranger and improviser throughout this self-produced project. His songs are tightly arranged instrumentals featuring a variety of instruments. My one overall complaint about the recording is that this material cries out to be played by a real band of live musicians as opposed to the synthesized sampled sounds we hear.

“Minor Differences,” for instance, features some very hip writing for saxophones, but part of the tune’s effectiveness is taken away by the somewhat sterile sound of the electronic instruments. We expect to hear that in rap and various other types of electronic dance music, but the jazz element of much of this material deserves to be in the hands of living, breathing musicians.

“Stephanie’s Song” is a piano solo which ventures into crossover classical territory. Essentially it is a waltz with an improvised feel in the melody. As such it offers an element of contrast to the combo numbers. My favorite track was “The Way You Make Me Feel Kristina.” This track begins with a traditional syncopated theme played on the piano in octaves and gradually builds to a frothy musical equivalent of a Cuban espresso coffee. I hope listeners in Fort Wayne who are unfamiliar with Latino music will seek out this recording which is available on Amazon.com. With the possible exception of Club Caliente over at Piere’s, I know of no other club in the area offering authentic Latino sounds. If you need some different spices in your groove mix check out Samba de Say Party?·

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