Best Lounge Act - 2003
"Hi, folks, how you doing? Good to see you. Come on in, there's a table right over there. And now, I'd like to do one of my very favorite songs. This one goes out to all you couples out there." Defined in our imagination by the artistry of Sinatra, Bennett and Tormé; the kitschy excess of Wayne Newton; and the unctuous absurdity of Bill Murray's caricature on Saturday Night Live, lounge singers of the old school are getting harder to find. Tony Viviano, a genial gentleman who carries on the fine tradition of Italian-American popular vocalists, knows how to interpret the classics, how to work a room and how to hire good musicians. You can catch Viviano Friday nights at Tony Marino's Steaks & Chops (15037 Manchester Road in Ballwin; 636-227-4800). At its most basic level, lounge singing is about connecting with people on a curiously intimate level, and the personable Viviano proves that the classic mix of style and sentimentality, while certainly endangered, is far from extinct.