Two years ago, inclement weather kept the Howard Isaacson Band from performing its gig as part of the Egg Harbor Township Recreation Department's Rhythm in the Park concert series at Tony Canale park. Last year, the threat of Hurricane Irene forced EHT Rec director Bob Lincoln to call off the show.
But this year, the weather was as nice as it was uncooperative the previous two years, with warm temperatures and clear skies a pleasant complement to the smooth sounds of Isaacson's saxophone.
Isaacson, a well-known saxophonist who has headlined the Cape May Jazz Festival, is a teacher at Alder Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township. Lincoln said he always enjoys Isaacson's appearances at the park.
"He's good, there's no ifs, ands or buts about it," Lincoln said. "He has several albums out. He's a pretty accomplished saxophone player."
The six-piece band kept the dozens of attendees in the audience grooving to the two-hour contemporary jazz set. Isaacson was upbeat, joking with the crowd about the foul weather the last two years, and playing a solo to a pint-sized fan in a blue T-shirt and cargo shorts who spent a song dancing beside the stage.
Millie Josephson, who along with her husband, Fred, attends most of the Rhythm in the Park shows each season, said she enjoyed the show despite not being heavily into jazz.
"I think it's great; I think they're really good," said Josephson, who lives in the English Creek section of the township. "We're not big jazz fans but we like this group, they're very good."
The Rhythm in the Park series, which has been held each weekend since late June, is nearing its end. Isaacson originally was scheduled to close out the series, but '50s doo-wop group RB Express, which was rained out in July, will play the park Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.
Lincoln said he initially had some trouble booking the band for the second date, but was willing to be flexible to accommodate the crowd-pleasing group.
"Normally next Friday would be my rain date, but they were already booked, the only thing we could work up with Saturday, and that's fine with me," Lincoln said. "I couldn't pass them by because my phone was ringing off the hook, they were really good."
While the Rhythm in the Park series may be wrapping up, the recreation department has a full suite of fall offerings that should fill the void more than adequately. The Get Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs series of fishing trips continues, with a morning trip Sept. 16 and a day trip Oct. 20. Lincoln said the last two trips are usually the highlight of the season.
"They're usually the good fishing trips because the fall fishing is usually a lot better, we're really looking forward to that," Lincoln said.
The next few months will also see the department host day bus trips to Washington, D.C., New York City, Delaware Park Race Track and more. Registration is required, and spots fill up fast.
For more information about programs, see ehtgov.org/
recreation or call 609-272-8120.
Contact Braden Campbell: