Jimmy_vivino2Jimmy Vivino appears in Red Bank Thursday night.


Guitarslinger extraordinaire Jimmy Vivino can appear to be everywhere at once.

You know him from his standing… er, sitting… gig with The Max Weinberg 7 on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. But he also he maintains membership in combos ranging from the Vivino Brothers (alongside sibling saxman and fellow Weinberger Jerry Vivino), Al Kooper’s ReKooperators, the 60s trib trio Prisoners of 2nd Avenue, and nearly a dozen other one-offs, side projects and happy accidents.


And oh yeah, he’s also a charter member of those world-class WannaBeatles, The Fab Faux — with whom he’ll be performing in the all-star band’s annual fundraiser at the Count Basie Theatre on June 28.

Tomorrow night, the Jersey-bred guitar guy goes straight from his Conan taping to a special appearance at the Downtown nightclub in Red Bank.

But why does Vivino continue to play these little jam gigs in little bars, staying up til the wee small hours and making wee small money, when he’s one of the most in-demand session and touring musicians in the observable universe?

Alas, the oRBit desk was unable to track Vivino down for this story. But musicians who know him say Vivino’s got that just-tell-me-where-to-be attitude about playing — and the snugger the room, the better.

“It’s my understanding that Jimmy still loves playing the smaller, more intimate venues,” says Chris Masi, music booker for the Downtown.

“Also, the Downtown is the hottest club in Jersey, and of course he wants to be part of the hotness,” Masi adds.

A glance at Vivino’s website suggests that the veteran player has achieved a level of demand that borders on physical impossibility.

The list of performers that Vivino’s made look good onstage begins with older brother (and Jersey TV legend) Uncle Floyd Vivino and extends to Bruce Springsteen, John Sebastian, Levon Helm and pretty much every musical guest who’s ever appeared on Conan. During Thursday night’s show, he’ll be joining frequent jam buddy Felix Cabrera and the rhythm section of Rene Woolley and Phil Butler for a set of Cabrera originals and quite possibly any of the thousands of tunes filed away in the guitarist’s mental iPod.

It’s a (not formally named) lineup that gets together every few months, according to Rene (pronounced “reen”) Woolley. The drummer, whose own group, Woolley Bully, is scheduled to appear at the Downtown on July 8, was encouraged to drop Vivino’s name when seeking out new gig venues — and when Woolley offered to secure his famed friend’s services for a Red Bank date, Masi “jumped at the opportunity” in his words.

Doors open at 8p for tomorrow’s show, with Vivino and company scheduled to play the upstairs lounge (The Rub maintains their Thursday night residency on the downstairs stage) between the hours of 9 and midnight. Admission is a mere five bucks, prompting Masi to ask with his trademark understatement, “Where can you go to see Jimmy Vivino for five dollars? The Downtown.”

Sounds like a deal, which in turn sounds like a segue into the other star attraction in Red Bank town this Thursday.

From his 1980s incarnation as a colorfully attired, curly-topped cousin to Mork from Ork — to the sleek suits, soul patches and chromedome stylings of his tenure on Deal Or No Deal — the chameleonic Howie Mandel has maintained one constant aspect to his professional persona; that of the working standup comic who continues to play some 200 live dates each year.

The actor, writer and popular game show host returns to the Basie boards tomorrow night for an evening of — well, who knows? A little confessional comic therapy, a little blue humor — maybe he’ll even blow up a rubber glove with his nose like he used to.

Tickets for the 8p show, which as of this morning are limited to “scattered single seats,” go for $25, $49.50 and $75, and can be reserved at the Count’s online box office.

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