Singer Jerry Grillo has been at it a long time in Milwaukee, playing clubs, bars, festivals and other events with a variety of incarnations of his always crack band. He has also performed with the Nick Contorno Orchestra.
Grillo, who works in the vein of Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra, but with what he has called, "a jazz element added to it."
The name of his new disc, "Some of the Best," is a reference, he has said, to the musicians with which he has surrounded himself over the past 15 years.
"This CD is a tribute to the Milwaukee area musicians who comprise The Jerry Grillo Band," he says on the disc, which is officially launched on Friday, April 3 at Paddy's Pub at 9 p.m.
"I have had the privilege to record with Chicago musicians and New York musicians on two CDs and the Nick Contorno Orchestra on another. However, I believe the real strength of my recording and peforming career is represented by my work with the Milwaukee area musicians who are featured on my latest CD. They have been with me since I started recording and performing as a jazz artist in 1994."
Those musicians include pianists Barry Velleman and Scott Currier, bassists Jeff Hamann and Tom McGirr, guitarists Jack Grassel, Kirk Tatnall and Steve Peplin, drummers Charles McFarlan and Randy Maio and saxophonist Juli Wood.
Most of the 12 tracks on the new disc are instantly recognizable standards, like "Take the ‘A' Train," "God Bless the Child," "Fever" and "Sweet Georgia Brown," to which Grillo lends his unique style. The material derives from a number of traditions.
"I consider the tracks on this CD to represent what my band does best," writes Grillo, "jazz standards and blues, some in a non-traditional style, and a bit of pop thrown in for good measure."
Grillo and his band also play at The Baby Grand in Wauwatosa on Saturday, April 18 from 8 p.m. until midnight.
Some other gigs coming soon include:
Things are Less Than Jake Monday night at The Rave, with The Expendibles and The Flatliners (those are hardly promising names for openers) warming things up at 8. Tickets are $17 and $22.
Chicago's Rachael Yamagata plays Turner Hall Ballroom on Tuesday, March 24 at 8 p.m. Cory Chisel opens the $10 show. On Friday, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Flavor Crystals perform at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17.
The 20 Greatest Hits of Johnny Cash is the name of the show at Shank Hall on Friday, March 27 at 8 p.m. A $10 cover gets you local rockers like Mark Shurilla and The Greatest Hits, Liam Ford and Jayne Taylor paying tribute to the music of the man in black. Also performing is WAMI-winning fiddler Tommy Greywolf.
Brooklyn-based Tigercity plays at Moct on the same night. The tour is part of a spring jaunt centered around South by Southwest, which took place last week, and then the band takes more time off from recording its debut full-length -- which they're recording with Chuck brody (Wu-Tang, Beastie Boys, American Princes) to tour Europe.
The sounds of crunching metal fill the Eagles Ballroom as Black Label Society and Sevendust top a four-ban bill that also includes Dope and Infinite Staircase Friday at 7:30 p.m. Archer are on select tour dates, but NOT here in Milwaukee, apparently.
On Saturday, Raul Malo of The Mavericks plays at Shank at 8 p.m. for $20. The next night is blues guitarist Walter Trout and his band the Radicals on the Shank stage at 8. Cover is also $20.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.