Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jerry Vivino Quartet Swings At The Shanghai Jazz Restaurant In Madison, NJ

The Shanghai Jazz Restaurant
Jerry Vivino

The Jerry Vivino Quartet

Ken Levinsky

James Wormworth

John Arbo
David Niu Proprietor of Shanghai Jazz

On Friday, November 4, I had my first opportunity to visit Shanghai Jazz Restaurant in Madison, NJ . The only thing I knew about Shanghai Jazz was that there is always a lot of great Jazz performers appearing there on a regular basis. I read that tenor sax player Jerry Vivino was performing Friday night and I had heard some good things about Jerry from other players that I respect.  When I arrived at Shanghai I was greeted and seated by one of the owners, Martha Chang and soon met her partner and husband, David Niu.  Martha and David really know what it takes to run an excellent restaurant.  Their focus along with their excellent wait staff is totally on the customer. This kind of attention to service is rarely found in many restaurants and it is even more rare in Jazz clubs. We then experienced an outstanding gourmet Asian cuisine dinner beautifully prepared. My blog is dedicated to doing music reviews and not food reviews but I have made an exception in this posting due to the excellent food.  Few restaurants can match the quality of their service or their food especially Jazz clubs that are know more for their music programs than their food.  Shanghai Jazz has live Jazz 6 nights a week, Tuesday through Sunday with no cover charge. It's absolutely worth going there not only for the Jazz but for the great food and service.

Jerry Vivino and his quartet was the group I came to see.  Jerry born in Paterson, NJ has always been interested in all types of music but Jazz has always been his sweet spot.  His favorites cover a lot of ground from Elton John, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Jimi Hendrix and especially Stan Getz. Through tonight's performance, I heard sound influences from many of these greats. In addition to great sax sounds, the audience was also treated to some soulful singing from Jerry and also from his talented bass player,  John Arbo. Jerry's resume is very impressive including a tour with Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons back in 1979. He also has done show work with Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Keely Smith, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Dr. John and Wynton Marsalis. More recently, Jerry played with the Max Weinberg 7 and was in the studio band for Late Night With Conan O'Brien.  Jerry has also played for many Broadway shows including Annie, A Chorus Line, Cats and Starlight Express just to name a few.

Tonight was a special experience that included a professionally-run restaurant, outstanding gourmet Asian food and great Jazz music from Jerry Vivino and his talented quartet.  I will return!


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