Tonina Saputo, the captivating jazz, funk, soul singer and instrumentalist mesmerised the audience at Marino Jazz, Valencia as part of her Summer 2023 tour. ’24/7 Valencia’ recently visited Marino Jazz, an ambient, sophisticated jazz club in the barrio of Cabanyal to watch a mesmerising performance by Tonina Saputo, a rising musician and singer who blends the genres of jazz, soul and Latin music.

The night was absolutely one to remember. A combination of Tonina’s incredible performance in such an amazing venue made for a spectacular evening. The Marino Jazz Club is a hidden gem for jazz lovers and music lovers alike. Just a stone’s throw from the coast and tucked away in the stylish barrio of Cabanyal; this intimate venue offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking an evening of soulful performances by local and international artists.

Stepping into the Marino Jazz Club is like entering a different era. The cosy ambience, dim lighting and vintage decor create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The walls are lined with frames holding photographs of legendary jazz performers, and there is a bar stocked with high-quality drinks manned by attentive staff. The stage, adorned with musical instruments, becomes the focal point where talented musicians showcase their artistry. Marino Jazz attracts a diverse array of local and international jazz artists, ensuring a dynamic and ever-changing programme of performances. It’s no wonder that in the short six months of its opening, this hidden gem has become a must-visit destination for music lovers in Valencia.

Tonina Saputo took the stage at Marino Jazz on  June 7th, delivering an exceptional performance of a curated set of her songs, most of which were written organically. Tonina is a rising star in the world of music, captivating the audience with her soulful voice and poetic songwriting. From St. Louis, Missouri, Tonina’s eclectic sound blends elements of jazz, soul, and Latin influences to create a unique and mesmerising musical experience.

With her thought-provoking lyrics and stage presence, Tonina has established herself as a shining light in the contemporary music scene. Her music transcends genres, appealing to a wide audience and leaving a lasting impression on listeners. Tonina sings in Spanish, English and Italian. Whichever language she is speaking or singing, it is difficult not to be transfixed by every word.

The performance would not have been complete without the support of Tonina’s fellow bandmates. Jackson Stokes, who played the guitar during the set, was a seamless addition to the band, providing an effortless, soulful performance that was a delight to watch. Tim Moore, who played the drums, equally provided an unforgettable performance, showcasing his talent and the ability to immerse himself within the unique beats that carried each song. The band worked together in complete harmony, able to predict every movement and sound from fellow bandmates and match the tempo, energy and tone of each melody. As well as the voice of the performances, Tonina played bass and double bass throughout, keeping a steady, rhythmic beat to every song.

Among the standout songs of the night were “Que Lío,” “Asking for a Friend,” and “Controla,”. “Que Lío” emerged as a sensual, warm, and soulful demonstration of Tonina’s remarkable vocals, complemented by a guitar solo by Jackson Stokes. “Asking for a Friend” captivated the crowd, eliciting foot-tapping and head-nodding. However, it was “Controla” that truly left a profound impact, as Tonina’s breathtaking vocal capacity was showcased in this slower, deeply emotive melody. The audience was moved to an overwhelming response at the end of the performance. Tonina’s ability to evoke such intense emotions through her music was truly remarkable, solidifying her position as a talented artist and leaving a lasting impression on the crowd.

The penultimate number was ‘Quizás, Quizás, Quizás’. At this point, the audience was entirely captivated by the melodies and sounds coming from the stage. At the concert’s end, the crowd demanded one final song, to which the band happily obliged. Tonina finished the performance with a moving cover of ‘Historia de un Amor’, a cover which is famous for being in Barack Obama’s top 100 songs in 2018. This cover lived up to the high expectations, as Tonina replicated the unmistakable melody of the song with her own unique twist, demonstrating her talent as a musical auteur.

Tonina began classically training her at age nine. Tonina had to say “I started playing instruments when I was around eight years old, then the singing came much later. I always sang as a child, but didn’t do it professionally until a bit later on in life.”

After these formative years of playing instruments, Tonina had the opportunity to learn from great teachers like Grammy or Award-winning bassist John Clayton. Tonina conducted the bass sections of the St. Louis Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Missouri All State Orchestra, and in 2009 she performed at Carnegie Hall in 2009 and at Lincoln Center in 2012 as a member of her Seondary school’s Symphony Orchestra.

In 2014, Tonina was accepted to study bass performance at Berklee’s Valencia campus in Spain, where she met and worked with Grammy award-winning producer and composer Javier Limón. After graduating, Tonina opened for Grammy Award-winning artist Lalah Hathaway and was named one of the prestigious American music outlet NPR’s favourite new artists of 2018.

The performance at ‘Marino Jazz’ was part of her Summer 2023 tour. Tonina has already performed in Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Guadalajara and Segovia. She will then fly on to the United States with her bandmates where she will captivate crowds in Los Angeles and her home city of St. Louis.

Report by Emily Bray

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

All photos copyright Emily Bray/ ’24/7 Valencia’

Marino Jazz

 C/ Eugenia Vinyes 223 (València)


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