Have you heard Ronny Whyte? Have you ever been to Shanghai Jazz Restaurant in Madison, New Jersey? Do you know about the New Jersey Jazz Society? These three wonderful treasures recently came together for a truly memorable and enjoyable afternoon.
Every month, the NJ Jazz Society holds a Sunday afternoon “social” at Shanghai Jazz, a fine Chinese restaurant which also hosts great jazz musicians. Last week the organization invited Ronny Whyte, who has, for decades, been a well-known and respected jazz pianist, singer, composer, and lyricist. (How one person can have so much diverse talent is beyond me!)
In addition to hearing his fabulous music, we also learned some interesting things about him. For example, Ronny performed in “Our Sinatra.” He was good friends with Bobby Short and Mabel Mercer.
He wrote the lyrics for a song recorded by Tony Bennett, “Forget the Woman” as well as a companion song to “As Time Goes By” made famous in the movie Casablanca. It’s called “Here’s Lookin’ at You.” To show his versatility, he also wrote a satirical song called “Hampton Blues.” You can hear a sample of these songs here.