CONTACT: Wayne Avery, 908-527-4742


Union County Presents “Rhythm & Blues By The Brook”
Music Festival at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, June 7th

Few figures exerted greater influence over the music of the 1960s and 1970s than Isaac Hayes. On Saturday, June 7th, Hayes will take to the stage in Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield as part of the 9th annual “Rhythm & Blues by Brook” presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. The outdoor concert runs from 12 noon until 7 p.m. at Cedar Brook Park, located at Park and Pemberton Avenues in Plainfield.

Hayes is scheduled to perform on the main stage beginning at 5:45 p.m. He began singing in public in church at the age of five and taught himself piano, organ and saxophone. In 1969 his landmark “Hot Buttered Soul” made Hayes one of the most distinctive figures in music, featuring his sensual grooves and imposing figure cut by his shaven head, omnipresent sunglasses and fondness for gold jewelry.

In 1971 Hayes won an Academy Award for Best Score with the release of “Shaft,” the score from the Gordon Parks film of the same name. The single “Theme From ‘Shaft,’” became a number one hit. Hayes award winning compositions include: “Zeke the Freak,” “Don’t Let Go,” “Do You Wanna Make Love,” and “Love Attack.” The younger generation got to know Hayes as the voice of Jerome “Chef” McElroy on the animated series South Park. And finally in 2000, Hayes appeared in the remake of Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson. Followed up a year later as a musician and arranger on Alicia Keys debut album, “Songs In A Minor.”

Rhythm & Blues by the Brook will kick off at Noon with Leon, a jazz guitarist and vocalist who has lived in Maplewood, NJ since 2002. In the late 1970s and early 1990s Leon led his own band, but made a personal decision to put his music on hold. His debut CD “My Soul Speaks” is a tribute to his mother whom he lost to cancer. The CD is a platform for Leon to express his ideas, his thoughts and his philosophy of life as he takes his audience with him to a place where peace, love and lightness of spirit dwells and speaks to the true character of the artist.

Then at 1:20 p.m., Kendra Ross will take the stage. Currently residing in Brooklyn, Kendra has appeared at legendary venues such as The Blue Note and BB King’s Bar & Grill. She is also an accomplished theatre performer having been featured in a National Tour of the Broadway smash hit, “Smokey Joe’s Café” starring Rita Coolidge and Gary “U.S.” Bonds; at Carnegie Hall with Broadway star Linder Eder; and on NBC’s Today Show with the Broadway Gospel Choir. Ross recorded and released her debut album in 2007, “New Voice” which is comprised of all original compositions.

At 2:40 p.m. the world famous Harlem Gospel Choir will be on stage. The choir is the most famous gospel choir in America and is known world-wide. The Harlem Gospel Choir was founded in 1986 and travels the globe, sharing its joy of faith through its music and raising funds for children’s charities. The theme of every performance is bringing people and nations together and giving something back.

At 4:00 p.m. Ryan Shaw, whose mission it is to revive the passion and soul of the golden age of rhythm & blues for a new generation, will appear. The 26-year-old from Decatur, Georgia has performed in the gospel musical “A Good Man Is hard to Find” (Part II), and performed before sold out crowds at the Beacon Theater in New York in the production of “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” His debut album, “This is Ryan Shaw,” combines a powerfully expressive voice with a clutch of great songs both classic and new, and a state-of-the-art, in your face sound that makes it impossible to sit still.

Concert goers should bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on and you can also bring a picnic lunch. A nearby food court will offer a ‘taste of spring’ for those who prefer to purchase a variety of satisfying dishes and beverages at reasonable prices.

The Kids Kingdom Traveling Jubilee will also be featured at Cedar Brook Park. Fun, games and music for kids will be available from Noon until 7 p.m.

“This year, along with fine music and family entertainment, everyone who comes to the concert will have an opportunity to lend a hand and help someone less fortunate by donating food to a worthy cause,” said Freeholder Chairman Angel G. Estrada.

Spectators at this year’s event are asked to bring with them non-perishable foods which will be donated to the Plainfield Food Bank.