Tony Marino goes for a playful, rambunctious mixture of pop, Latin jazz, progressive rock, and more on the joyous “Rhythm and Dues”. Within the whole of the album there is a living, breathing organic spirit behind it. A clear ear for melody takes shape and the flow of the work feels so poignant. Purely instrumental the dexterity of the arrangements comes from the tremendous flexibility and versatility of the sound itself. Done to perfection, there is a dreamy scope to it, one that appears to be infinitely catchy as well. Over the course of the entire album a narrative of sorts takes shape all without needing to say a single word.
Everything about the music suggests Tony to be a well-listened individual. A wide slew of different references pours into the sound. For the jazz side of things, there are clear nods to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz in terms of their sophistication. On the giddier aspect where every sort of evolution appears to be possible there is a clear debt to some of Frank Zappa’s carefree colossal constructions that show a real talent for form, as the songs shift unpredictably and with such vigor. In terms of the poppy aspects with those tremendous hooks R. Stevie Moore’s odd off-kilter brand of psychedelics enters the fray.
A jaunty groove settles into place on the swirling lush soundscape of “Fried Chicken”. The lounge aspects of “Couldn’t Be Better” has a mellowed quality to it, for the chillness of the sound proves to be undeniably colorful. Energy flows through the unhinged swing of “Milt’s” where he takes a classic big band sound and filters it through in a futuristic fashion. Reggae effects with a tropical cadence emerge on the sly slinky “Jamaican Rum”. Keeping things expansive is the delicate touch of “Beachside Café”.
Bass anchors the posh textures of “Go With The Flow” as the horns have a nice touch to them, even giving it a bluesy cadence. Drums have a nimbleness on the album highlight, the sprawling ambition of “What’s Next”. Layer upon layer merges on the stream of consciousness “Tenacity”. On the title track “Rhythm And Dues” the whole of the work is slowed down in a way that gives it a bewildering quality, with the woozy imagery coming in and out of focus. Neatly bringing the whole of the collection together is the intricate “Broad & Porter”.
“Rhythm and Dues” shows off Tony Marino’s iconic, timeless classic approach in a way that is pure bliss.