Sweet Sounds DownTown

Tuesday last week I was, unfortunately, on a business trip, so tonight was only the second time this year that I had an opportunity to enjoy "Sweet Sounds Downtown", a.k.a. the jazz festival.
This is a very special event and I'm glad that the Downtown Westfield Corporation has sponsored it for quite some time now. It happens every Tuesday between the Fourth of July and Labor day between 7 and 9 PM at 4 (or sometimes 5) stages in downtown Westfield.
The first stage this evening is in the new mini-park just west of PNC that has been created after PNC redid its parking lot. There, Carrie Jackson provides an impressive repertoire of summery jazz, blues and swing standards. With her impressive soulful voice she creates a warm relaxing atmosphere. A good start into the evening.
Next is the Dave Leonhardt Trio in front of the Baptist church opposite Bank of America on Elm Street. Things are a bit more jazz and more modern and avant-garde here. You can clearly see the skill and experience of the musicians that perform very well as a group together. We stay there for a while. There are typically enough chairs to sit down or you can sit down on the lawn. Some people even do a picnic there, getting a pizza or a sandwich from one of the eateries close by. The only thing that is missing is a chilled bottle of good white wine. OK, I'm dreaming, unfortunately local legislation doesn't allow that.
Finally we make our way back south to the stage next to the Bombay store where The Tone Masters present soulful jazz music towards R&B and New Orleans. They are able to engage the audience quite a bit and there is lots of energy and dynamic in the air. We hang out for a while to enjoy the show and the walk over to the train station.
This is the final stage for the evening. I honestly forgot the name of the band as it was a bit unimpressive. The program says Gordon James, but there have been changes before. The music is more of the mellow, elevator, smooth jazz type style that I don't particularly like. But then again that is my preference. Some other people liked it.

So after a short while we move on. For a refreshment before we walk back home, we make a stop at Hi 5 Candy & Ice Cafe. I blogged about the gap that Planet Smoothie is leaving in Westfield before, so we decide to test the newly added Smoothie offering at Hi 5. There are a few different flavors (peach, berry, green tee, etc.) and we decide to go for peach. Now the smoothies there are not made with fresh or even fresh frozen fruit, so technically I guess they wouldn't count as real Fruit Smoothies. Rather there is a flavor base that comes from a canister (imported from Italy) that is freshly blended with ice. Considering that for Hi 5 smoothies are not a "core competency", the results are actually pretty good. The drink has the right consistency and texture, there seemingly are actual pieces of fruit in the base and it has a well balanced pretty authentic peach taste. This is far better than the artificial, flat taste that you often get when drinks like this are made with industrially produced artificial aroma syrups. $2.99 for 16 oz is OK. There are no larger sizes available. We decide that we will come back to try the other flavors over the course of the summer or even do a smoothie comparison.

On the way home we stop again to catch a few more songs from Carrie Jackson. We really enjoyed the evening, pleasant weather, beautiful music and a surprisingly good smoothie. And it is only 10 minutes to walk back home. Next week, unfortunately, I will be on a business trip again.

Signing off - The Westfield Blogger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi 5 is one of my favorite places in Westfield. I haven't tried their Smoothie but the gelato is splendid.