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Monday, November 26, 2012

Blind Pig Signs Jimmy Vivino!
Leading American roots music label Blind Pig Records has announced the signing of Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians.   For the recording sessions Vivino will reunite his R&B influenced band The Black Italians for two shows in front of live audiences at Levon Helms Studios in Woodstock, New York. The shows will take place on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1. In addition to Vivino on guitar the band features Mike Merritt (bass), James Wormworth (drums), Felix Cabrera (harp/vocals), Gov't Mule's Danny Louis (keys), Catherine Russell (vocals), Fred Walcott (percussion) and Mike Jacobson (percussion).
For the past two years guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader Vivino has enjoyed a high-visibility gig as the musical director for Jimmy Vivino and The Basic Cable Band, the house band for the TBS late night program "Conan."  Vivino has been a consistent element in Conan O'Brien's late night TV career, starting with the first episode of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" in September 1993.  In June of 2008 he moved from New York to Los Angeles to work on "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien."
When not appearing weeknights on TBS, Vivino divides his time between recording sessions and live gigs throughout the country.  In addition to his solo work, Vivino plays with the successful Beatles tribute band The Fab Faux. He has also recorded and played with such legends as Johnnie Johnson, Hubert Sumlin, Son Seals, Levon Helm and Al Kooper. Earlier in his career Jimmy got his start producing, playing and arranging for such artists as Phoebe Snow, Laura Nyro, John Sebastian, Donald Fagen and Felix Cavaliere.  Prior to landing in television, Vivino worked on Broadway and in film.
The Black Italians were originally formed twenty years ago around a residency at the legendary Downtime Music Bar on W. 30th Street in New York City.  Vivino, Merritt and Wormworth, who had been serving as the band for the legendary pianist Johnnie Johnson, started attracting local and national touring musicians to their shows eager to participate in impromptu jams of what Vivino describes as "Third World blues with New Orleans swagger."   Vivino jokingly dubbed the communal group of musicians of various ethnicities "The Black Italians," which he says was really "about being soulful cats."  The aggregation lasted about two years, until Vivino became too busy with his television gig.
Jerry Del Giudice of Blind Pig recently suggested to Jimmy that he get the band back together for a recording.   Says Vivino, "I was taken by surprise when Jerry asked, but it was the perfect thing, because it really excited me."
The group has only made a few select appearances in recent years (including a notable gig at New York's Cutting Room in 2008).  While at Helm's barn, The Black Italians will host a public rehearsal on Friday, and record a live album on Saturday. The Black Italians' Friday show is described as an interactive rehearsal.

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