My nephew and I had the privilege of listening to Onofrio play at the Monte Carlo Inn recently. Being fourteen, I thought for sure that this child would certainly be bored sitting for an hour listening to a style of music unfamiliar to him. There is no way he would appreciate it. Boy was I wrong!
We sat together at a table across the room but directly facing the stage. Each note that strummed off that guitar fluttered over and sat with us at our table. Before long we were snapping our fingers, tapping our toes and enjoying the smooth rhythms of smooth jazz virtuoso Onofrio Virdo. He played well known tunes as well as some of his own compositions which I enjoyed immensely.
Marc Antoine! That is who he reminds of. Hailing from Madrid, Spain, Marc Antoine is one of the smoothest jazz fusion guitarist I have ever seen and heard play. Watching and listening to Onofrio put me back at The Living Arts Centre a few years ago at the Wave 94.7 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards ceremony, where Antoine was one of many jazz artistes who performed to an almost sold out audience. The Latin flavour is indelibly intertwined in their strumming and picking. It is melodic, relaxing and simply beautiful.
We had a chance to chat with Onofrio for a few minutes in between sets where he revealed to us that he has been playing music since the age of 13. He is a full time musician who lives and works in Toronto, and also travels internationally with his music. As if the live performance was not enough, Onofrio graciously presented us with a gift of one his CDs which we listened to for the rest of the night and well into the next day.
It will be my pleasure to have him play at Jazz D’Vine’s next showcase. To learn more about Onofrio visit his website at http://onofriomusic.com/about-onofrio/ and come check him out at The Gospel Café playing alongside Cameron Ross on February 16, 2013.