he jazz music spilled into the village neighborhood streets. The fountains at Fayetteville's Beard Park framed the postcard setting. Thousands of music lovers had set out their folding chairs and lawn blankets to enjoy the warm summer evening. Host and WAER FM 88's Eric Cohen described the gathering as the biggest in the decade long history of the Fayetteville jazz concert.
The fountains at Fayetteville's Beard Park framed the postcard setting. Thousands of music lovers had set out their folding chairs and lawn blankets to enjoy the warm summer evening. People had turned out to hear the grand, lyrical voice of multiple Grammy nominee Jane Monheit.
Monheit took the stage around 8:15 tonight wearing a long belted dress. The Stan Colella All-Star Band started the evening off at 6:30. Then Central New York's own jazz legend Ronnie Leigh performed for nearly an hour. He received a rousing ovation from the community that has embraced his talent for more than thirty years.
Tonight, Monheit was the star of the evening. Her modest opening included a nod to Ronnie Leigh's talent. She also expressed her love of her adopted home region of Central New York. She and her husband Rick Montalbano have made their home in Rome on Lake Delta for the last three and a half years. Performances will take her internationally this year to Germany, South Africa and London. Here in the States she will play Aspen, Napa and several other states. Yet, she makes a point of playing near home.
She proved tonight it is a treat to have such a talent in our own backyard. She was backed by her father-in-law Rick Montalbano on piano. Rick put together the Fayetteville All-Stars including Tom Bronzetti on guitar, Jared Mulcahy on bass, Ricky Montalbano on drums, Joe Carello on alto saxophone and Jeff Stockham on trumpet and horns. You would never know the guys had not spent hours in rehearsal. They know each other. They have played together before. And they are accomplished professionals worthy of the talent that was front and center.
Monheit's voice easily filled the park. The community appreciated the unique treat of having an artist like her living in our own backyard.
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