Twenty five years and 50 plus recordings into his multi-faceted, ever-evolving musical career, John Tesh is finally ready to swing--not metaphorically as in the cliche "for the fences," but literally. On his new Big Band collection and accompanying public television special distributed by APT titled "John Tesh Big Band Live!", the keyboardist fronts a full blown ensemble and horn section playing Great American Songbook classics. The projects mark an all-time first for the lifelong musician--letting his lead vocals shine front and center. For the four-time Emmy Award winner and two-time Grammy nominee, these projects are unique creative departures from his rich history as a composer and performer of "sports music," new age, contemporary jazz and inspirational works. More importantly, and in a deeper sense, they mark a return to his musical roots.
Tesh's highly successful and varied career path includes a 10-year run as anchor on Entertainment Tonight, six hit public television specials, including his landmark Live At Red Rocks in 1994, a string of #1 radio hits, his popular nationally syndicated radio show "Intelligence For Your Life" in which he has 14.5 million listeners, and a high profile advertising and marketing company. His musical accolades since releasing his debut album Tour De France in 1988 include seven million units in total sales; a Keyboard Magazine Award; a 2003 Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Instrumental Album" for his double CD The Power of Love; and gold certification for his Live At Red Rocks album.
A self-proclaimed school "band geek" playing trumpet in marching and jazz bands in junior high and high school, Tesh was proficient on the horn and piano from the age of six. He studied with teachers from The Julliard School, and was named to the New York State Symphonic Orchestra in high school--while also playing organ in a rock band. Tesh got hooked on Hendrix and the Doors, but also has fond memories of his parents spinning Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Count Basie at parties in their Long Island home.
For the past 10 years, Tesh's dreams have also branched out to include Tesh's syndicated radio show "Intelligence For Your Life," which reaches more than 14.5 million listeners per week on over 350 stations across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. His advertising and marketing company, TeshMedia, handles clients such as numerous Fortune 500 companies, including General Motors, Home Depot, Macy's, Kohl's Petsmart, Amway, Geico Insurance and PetSmart. Tesh's book "Intelligence for Your Life: Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth", has spent time on the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, Wall Street Journal & Amazon.com best-seller lists. The award-winning daily and weekly show he calls "purpose driven radio", recently secured the trademarks for three more categories in their "Intelligence for...." family. "Intelligence for Your Health," "Intelligence for Your Pets" and "Intelligence for Your Love Life" have been added to Tesh's core brand, and will be developed into stand-alone content-rich websites with products designed around the "Intelligence" Tesh and his staff have gathered in the 10 years since they launched the show.
While the big band experience will be new to many John Tesh fans, his decades of success in creating popular instrumental music--when he could have kept his "dream job" of hosting "ET" -- inspired him to reflect recently, "lately, I've become the poster boy for quitting your job and following your dream."
"For this new phase of my musical career," Tesh continues, "because I wanted the songs to feature myself as a pianist, and a singer, one of the challenges for our arrangers was to include longer instrumental breaks between vocal verses that would allow me to improvise on the piano. The result is that every song is more fun and adventurous than we've usually heard it. Playing these standards this way, especially in a live setting, gives me an opportunity to be challenged in a way that never happens when I'm playing my own music. When you're doing someone else's music and working off fresh charts, you have to get inside that and figure out what the composer and arranger had in mind. The jazz world is different. The dynamics are completely different when I'm working with this kind of musical horsepower behind me, figuring out tempos and swinging in a convincing way. For me, this was really like going back to school. No doubt it will be an ongoing learning process I look forward to for as many years as I decide to do this."
Tesh and his touring ensemble will be performing music from John Tesh Big Band throughout the spring and summer 2012 in various venues across the U.S. "The most interesting part of recording and performing music is that as an artist, you never know how people will use it or the difference it may make in their lives," he says. "It's been rewarding so far seeing people my age, older, and much younger, either rediscovering big band music or hearing it for the first time. The older crowd recalls fond memories of where they were when they first heard it, while the 15-year olds who were raised hearing pre-recorded tracks during live shows can marvel at the brass section playing a triple forte, or the flutes playing pianissimo. These are visceral experiences that we're excited to bring to audiences everywhere via the CD, the public television special and our tour."
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