LIMA — The Lima Area Concert Band will soon be joined by guest artist “Blue Lou” Marini.
Marini is a sought-after musician. He plays saxophone, flute and clarinet. He is a solo artist, arranger and composer performing jazz, rock, blues and classical music for film, television shows and concerts. He’s been a member of Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Saturday Night Live Band and The Original Blues Brothers Band. He’s recorded with Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Lou Reed, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and Steely Dan. And, he’s also acted in the “Blues Brothers” movies.
This is Marini’s second appearance with the Lima Area Concert Band. He is friends with Lima Area Concert Band member, Lucinda (Lucy) Altstaetter, as she played in his dad’s high school band.
Marini’s parents influenced his musical prowess. His father was the Fairless High School band director and wrote the school song. Fairless High School is in Navarre, Ohio.
“When I was a kid, my dad had left the Navy after World War II, and gone back to Ohio to go to school, and apparently my mom told me our apartment was like a hangout for all of these musicians. So when I was two years old I was hanging with the cats until 2 a.m. So I was surrounded by music my whole life. My mom was very musical. She was always singing. I have nice memories of her and I washing dishes and drying dishes and singing together,” said Marini.
His advice for up and coming musicians would be to develop their own identity.
“All of us learn to play by emulating certain players we like. You learn to play along with records and maybe learn an artist’s solo. But why should someone listen to them when they could hear the real thing? It takes a lot of discipline and courage just to be a freelance musician. It takes a willingness to trust in yourself and believe in yourself. It’s a different world out there. I also wish them luck,” said Marini.
He lists his favorite genre of music as jazz.
“I listen to all kinds of music from all over the world. But I’ve always been a jazz player and that’s where my basic instincts lie, and that’s what I love the most,” said Marini.
Marini was featured in the movie “The Blues Brothers,” starring Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi. He was playing with the Saturday Night Live house band and became friends with the two comedians through the show.
“First we did a record and the progression was that we started rehearsing and the band was so eclectic and we were from so many different points of view and life experiences. When we started rehearsing we quickly realized that it was sounding special. At that point, that was at the height of Belushi and Ackroyd’s popularity with ‘Animal House’ and with the Saturday Night Live show. So it was sort of showbiz central when we were rehearsing. The Rolling Stones came by and different stars. The way they reacted to it sort of let us know before we even went to Los Angeles that something special was going on. We played at the Universal Amphitheater, we were opening for Steve Martin. I remember one night looking out and catching the eye of Jack Nicholson who was sitting in the front row and he lifted up his shades and he looked at me and went “WOW.” That was pretty cool. Then shortly after that they had us do the movie. So the whole thing, the whole ‘Blues Brother’ thing was pretty kaleidoscopic and psychedelic in a way, you know,” said Marini.
Marini had a scene in the movie with Aretha Franklin.
“I’ve done a bunch of interviews about Aretha because of that iconic scene in the movie. When I started thinking about it, I realized that I as in the Grammy orchestra when she got her lifetime achievement award, I was in the Grammy orchestra when she subbed for Pavarotti, I was in the Kennedy Center Honors Orchestra when she sang onstage and I played the Obama inauguration when she sang. So I was around for a bunch of events with Aretha. She was a force of nature,” said Marini.
Marini went on to play in the second “Blues Brothers” movie as well.
The 73-year-old has so many stories throughout his career that his friends tell him to write a book.
“I’m blessed with a good memory,” said Marini.
His one regret is that he never got the chance to play with Miles Davis, the great jazz trumpet player.
“I never made an effort to get there because my path was in a different direction. But he’s one of the musicians that I admire and I loved his restless, ever challenging mind. He was one of my musical heroes,” said Marini.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.