The stage was aglow in purple and blue, accented by a jet-black and glimmering grand piano. For twenty minutes the audience waited for famed pianist, composer, and arranger to take a seat at the piano and play his tunes.
When the Italian-born Giovanni Marradi finally took to the stage and began to play his first two songs, which he wrote himself, he told the audience of about 80 that he preferred to play for the small, intimate crowd that he saw before him.
During his long career, Marradi has produced more than 30 CDs and is currently working on a PBS series that is filming in his native Italy.
Midway through Saturday evening’s performance, Marradi invited Jaelle onstage to perform their rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Misérables.”
“She grabbed at my heart,” Marradi recounted of the first time he heard her voice in his car after her grandparents gave Marradi a copy of her album.
Throughout Saturday’s performance, Marradi’s robust playing kept the audience attentive and engaged and during a polka tune, members of the audience began to clap in sync with Marradi’s melody. At the end of the song, Marradi paused before the last note, glanced at the audience, gave them a playful wink, and hit the final key.
Marradi’s next Southern California performance will be March 9th at the Fox Theater in Riverside.