The Penthouse Radio NYC
Review by Bob Perry

July 12, 2008

Diane Marino
Category: Music

When you hear the concept of Diane Marino's brand new album "Just Groovin' " - a reworking of 60s pop tunes in a jazz setting - some folks might get visions of Bill Murray's lounge singer on Saturday Night Live singing the theme from Star Wars.  Thankfully, that isn't the case.

The definition of a standard is a popular song that has been recorded or sung generation after generation - a song that is well written and continues to convey an emotion or idea to a new audience.  When you think of "standards" - names like Johnny Mercer, Sammy Kahn or Cole Porter come to mind, right?  Well, I doubt that any of these gentlemen were concerned whether people in the 21st century would still sing their ditties. They were creating the popular music of the day.  The real importance to them was if their latest effort would sell copies of the sheet music and/or record or be the show-stopping tune that patrons would leave the theater humming and wanting more!

So, it makes perfect sense that the tunesmiths of the 1960s like Paul Simon,  Brian Wilson, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Burt Bacharach & Hal David and Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati should help form the basis for this new collection of "standards".   After all, was the team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney any less a musical force in their time than, say, George and Ira Gershwin?

Which brings us to Diane Marino's brand new CD.  Rather than mere "covers" of these songs, Ms. Marino offers brilliant re-interpretations of pop standards.  Listening to the pre-release copy again in my car yesterday, I was struck by how these songs sounded fresh and how they could have just as easily been the same monster hits with these new arrangements.

The "single" on this album is Diane's duet with Felix Cavaliere singing his signature Rascals tune "Groovin'".  The fact that he also performs the song with the legendary Hammond B-3 organ makes it perfect.  It loses nothing from the original in my ears and I've listened to that one cut at least 20 times in the past week.  (I make no apologies - it's what I do). 

Born in the borough of Queens, NY; Diane calls Nashville home these days and with that address has access to top quality musicians and production facilities.  Solo performances by jazz notables Kirk Whalum (tenor/soprano  sax), Wycliffe Gordon (trombone) and Houston Person (tenor sax) bring big-name appeal to the effort.

Diane Marino has had success in the jazz category with her previous efforts "A Sleeping Bee" (2003) and "On The Street Where You Live" (2004).  Both charted on the jazz charts and won her praise with reviewers and listeners. Now, she needs to bring "Just Groovin'" to the attention of the mainstream adult contemporary radio programmers.  This just might be how some of these classic, chart-topping hits find their way back to the Billboard Hot 100.

We're doing our part - you can hear Diane Marino right here on The Penthouse.  Enjoy!