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James "JT" Taylor formerly of Kool and the Gang Performs in Brookdale Park

Natalie Heard Hackett

Saturday, July 12, 2014 • 10:50pm

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. kicked off the first of a series of free music shows in Bloomfield’s Brookdale Park on Thursday.  The music series has been taking place county-wide since June, however, this was the first performance in Brookdale Park. 

Brookdale Park’s kickoff performance was originally scheduled to begin with a Fourth of July fireworks display with performances by Joe Piscopo and well-known group, ‘The Infernos’.  When windstorms and flooding postponed the fireworks event, James “JT” Taylor formerly known as the lead singer of R&B/Funk band Kool and the Gang, became the first show in Bloomfield as part of the free summer music concert series.

Thousands of people filled Brookdale Park in Bloomfield for Thursday night's performance.   Taylor performed 1980’s hits such as JoAnna, Get Down On It, Fresh, as well as many others.  Concert-goers sat on lawn chairs and blankets while they sang along and danced to the tunes.

During the performance, Taylor announced, “It feels so good to be back home.”  Although not born in New Jersey, Taylor told the audience that he had spent a lot of time in West Orange and lived in Hackensack for many years.  Throughout the show, Taylor and his back up dancers made several wardrobe changes to fit the mood of the songs. There was also a brief intermission where the backup dancers became singers and entertained the audience with hits from Beyonce as well as other pop music artists.

Montclair resident Kim Malloy said, "I'm so proud of JT.  It was a wonderful performance.  I found out about the show on facebook and will attend other Essex County performances."

The Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs have put together a lineup of performances to take place in parks across Essex County all summer long.

The fireworks event which included the Infernos, Joe Piscopo and the fireworks display has been rescheduled for Tuesday, July 15 at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield at 7:30 p.m. The remaining Essex County summer concert series schedule has been unaffected.  

For more information, contact the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs at 973-268-3500 or for a full line up of summer concert performances across Essex County, log onto http://www.essex-countynj.org/

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