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.

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SimonelliJoe Simonelli


Chicago has the profanely profound David Mamet; Pittsburgh the late great August Wilson. New York? Well, at least as the rest of the country sees it, there’s no playwright more attuned to Manhattan than the beloved Neil “Doc” Simon.


Here in the great metropolis that is Monmouth County, the boards of our local stages are getting Simonized in style by our own comical Bard of the Bayshore, a scribe who was once branded by a correspondent for the Asbury Park Press (not me) as the Next Neil Simon.

Digging around in the basement of the First Avenue Playhouse for a stray prop or suitable stick of furniture, Joe Simonelli doesn’t come across as a self-important peer of Mamet or Albee or, for that matter, even Dan “Nunsense” Goggin. While none of those gentlemen of letters would rightly be expected to decorate their own sets, the regular-joe Simonelli can often be spotted around the Atlantic Highlands dessert theatre doing whatever needs to be done — painting flats, providing musical accompaniment, even serving coffee to faithful patrons.

This summer, lucky local audiences will get a chance to catch two offerings from the Simonelli playbook, beginning with Roommates, a comedy of relationships that kicks off a month-long engagement at First Avenue this Friday, with the author himself in the lead.

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On a weekend in which the Count Basie Theatre is scheduled to host a couple of local-kid dance recitals, the ever-eclectic auditorium also will be sounding a blue note or three, as a trio of standup guys jack the stage for a program that could only be called Comedy on the Edge.


You’re gonna need a 64-ounce bag of V-chips to shield yourself from the vitriolic vibes Friday, when Patrice O’Neal, Robert Kelly and Mike DeStefano appear in this three-headed monster of a bill, presented by AM Productions and featured under the banner of this weekend’s TriCity Arts Tour.

Call it “art” if you must, but those of us who recall Comedy Central’s long-defunct Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn remember O’Neal and Kelly as just two of the opinionated lugs who made that refreshingly loose roundtable into something like the McLaughlin Group, minus the decorum. Collectively, the comics have logged considerable man-hours on the late-late talkfests, premium cable specials and Opie and Anthony shows. To say nothing of quickie cameos in movies that star their bigger, scarier friends — a sore point, one would have to reckon.

Calling from the L.A. home of his pal Dane Cook — with whom he was about to embark on a road trip that would take them (plus Al Del Bene) from Caesars Las Vegas to the sands of Iraq — Boston-bred Bob Kelly filled redbankoRBit in on the pet peeves of the road-warrior wiseass, and life trouping for the troops in a world without (Bob) Hope.

Warning: F-bombs ahead.

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