Marinaro clearly has done that, and something more, too. For in addition to creating his first album, documenting one of the most beautiful vocal instruments in the business today, he has said a great deal about the nature of family, of fathers and sons, and of how music can bind them.
His father "always carried a bittersweet connection to music," says Marinaro. "I think he's accepted the path that he took, and he's proud of his life and his kids, (yet) he always wonders: 'What if?'
"And while I still have him , I wanted to show him how important he was. That my connection to the Great American Songbook was a priceless gift (from him)."
To Joseph Marinaro, hearing himself in his youth – and belatedly duetting with his son on CD – "is like coming alive again," he says.
"A lot of times I watch that movie ('On the Waterfront,' in which Marlon Brando says), 'I could've been a contender.'
"That's how I feel. But I'm glad Paul's got a lot of that (spirit), and he keeps striving."
Equally important, he just made his old man a contender.
Paul Marinaro performs music from "Without a Song" at 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct.; $10-$30; 312-360-0234 or jazzshowcase.com.
To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich.
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