Tesh Kicks Off 'Jazz Up July'
STAMFORD ADVOCATE, Stamford, CT -- John Tesh's 6-foot 6-inch frame wasn't the only reason the entertainer filled up the stage Wednesday night at the Jazz Up July concert in Columbus Park. The New York musician, who doubles as a nationally syndicated radio show host, took full command of the stage with his upbeat brand of jazz and big band music.
Tesh was the debut performer in the new series of concerts replacing Pops at the Park. The series, running for four Wednesdays throughout July, will feature performers who play smooth jazz.
"This is the anti-Alive@Five," said Sandra Goldstein, executive director of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District. "We're looking for a demographic that likes something other than pop."
Lynne Colatrella, the DSSD's vice president of events and marketing, agreed, noting that "Pops in the Park" didn't have a great turnout last year. Colatrella was excited about the turnout for Tesh, which filled nearly the entire park. "And honestly, I'm a huge fan of his," she admitted.
"Tesh is a great way to kick off the series because he's not heavy-duty jazz," Goldstein added. "It's fun jazz."
Other performers scheduled to play later this month include Marion Meadows, who graduated from Rippowam High School in 1972, pianist Joyce DiCamillo, also native to Stamford, and Grammy-winning songstress Roberta Flack.
Many audience members Wednesday expressed excitement over Flack's upcoming performance, including fan Nina Halstrom.
"Hopefully we'll be back for Roberta Flack," she said. "But I like the combination of both pop and jazz," she added, referring to Alive@Five, Jazz Up July's more popular Thursday night counterpart. Though Columbus Park was filled with families gazing from lawn chairs and dancing casually on sidewalks, the performance remained pleasantly calmer than Alive@Five.
"Jazz is always relaxing," said Oswald Garcia, 45, who was visiting from Maryland. "You can't go wrong with jazz. But I did just see a sign saying MC Hammer is playing tomorrow, and that's pretty awesome, too."
Tesh tied the performance together with an array of witty stories ranging in topic from his wife's television roles to how he used his answering machine to write NBC's basketball theme music. He even took a moment to perform a brief rap, something the audience members found surprisingly entertaining, answering with loud and enthusiastic applause.
"That's the last rapping you'll hear tonight," said Tesh, unlikely aware of his pinpoint accuracy and Thursday night's performer.