VIVO will take you where Ms. Margarita might, and a good ways yonder


WHAT: Award-winning jazz, blues, bossa-samba group VIVO, at Bayshore Sounds of Summer

WHERE: The Yard at Bayshore Shopping Center, 5800 Port Washington Rd. 

WHEN: 6-9 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2022


The steamy air slithers into your lungs and comes out as salty slime, a runnin’ down your breast. But your friends, baby, they don’t treat you like a guest. At least not here.

Apologies to Grace Slick, but this here is Slick weather. Really, what we have here is margarita weather, Wisconsin style. What we do not have is a failure to communicate.

So, salt up that slippery glass rim to replenish your sodium loss, toss in a clatter of ice cubes, mix in the tequila and fruit concoction — and one more ingredient:

VIVO is Wisconsin’s musical analogue to a margarita. And yet, it takes you places you can’t quite get to with the floozy-booze, which tends to lead you on a circular path that has blotto at the bottom, as good as it feels. But VIVO’s places are where humanitv — artfully multiplied by five or six players and palm-tree breezes — transports you, wherever the award-winning jazz-bossa-samba group wants you to go. You’ll be thankful for the trip. You might even get up and dance in the heat, because it’ll be 6 p.m. or even pushing sundown.

VIVO live. Courtesy Wisconsin Rapids Times

Who’s VIVO? I’d start with winds and keyboard whiz Warren Wiegratz. For 25 years, he led Streetlife, the high-energy jazz-funk-fusion band that raced all over the musical map as the long-time house band for the Milwaukee Bucks.

But there’s a more suave side to sax-burner Wiegratz. With VIVO, you get to hear more of him romancing the flute and melodica. VIVO vocalist Pam Duronio — who also peppers mallated bongos — sings an intoxicating array of jazz, blues, bossa nova and samba songs, often in Spanish and Portuguese. She also possess an radiant aura that relaxes as well as it stimulates. This VIVO stuff is musical therapy, if you let it be

VIVO singer and percussionist Pam Duronio performs with multi-instrumentalist Warren Wiegratz in a performance on the Milwaukee lakefront a few year back. Photo by Kevin Lynch

And what about this musical synchronicity? The percolating ensemble is veteran, through and through, but at its organic core is this: Duronio is a long-time marriage partner with ace guitarist Tim Stemper — who can blaze and beguile with the best of them. And almost always the winding twain shall meet, in harmonies of the most satisfying and surprising sort.

So I am heading down to Bayshore tomorrow evening, with my gal pal, around six for a tall glass of VIVO, partly because I have an excuse to celebrate and live it up a bit, as it’s my birthday tomorrow.

But you sure don’t need such an excuse to drink in this group and drink up, and feel a little more alive than you did before.

Si, si! Viva VIVO!



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