Jake TavillRFH senior Jake Tavill celebrates the release of his debut solo recording INDIGO CHILD — and on a school night, yet — during a Sunday night multi-bill upside The Downtown.

When we first met Jake Tavill in the paperless pages of redbankgreen, he was an 11 year old actor platooning in the role of Young MacDuff — and under the direction of the usually wordless wizard of mischief TELLER, no less — in Two River Theater’s bloody-good production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Now a 17 year old senior at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, the native Rumsonite has focused in recent years on making music — honing his keyboard skills, finding his singing voice, and writing songs that draw inspiration from the work of classic rockers, bluesmen and R&B masters who made their mark long before he was born. As detailed here in a recent redbankgreen profile, the result was Indigo Child — a fully fleshed and professionally recorded set of songs that our Music Desk described as “loaded with funky beats, horn arrangements and mellow vocals.”

This Sunday evening, after the last of Red Bank’s Halloween Parade revelers has scurried back to home and hearth, Jake Tavill commandeers the second floor of The Downtown for an album release party that includes several of his fellow local musicians, and the live debut of the really-big Indigo Child Big Band.

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jake tavill 081514Jake Tavill at home in Rumson last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


This may be the era of inescapable rap, but listeners his age are better versed in classic rock and pop than one might assume, Jake Tavill insists. Still, it’s hard to imagine many are as bone-soaked in the old stuff as the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional senior.

Evidence? On his return to school this week, Tavill’s likely to be the only kid with an album of lushly soulful songs under his belt.

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lifeinmiddlebOne class act: Adam Canterbury (Red Bank Middle School), Spencer Mullen (Thompson Middle School) and Sophia Jackman (Ranney School) are among the local students featured in the original musical LIFE IN THE MIDDLE, going up this weekend at Two River Theater. (Rehearsal photos by Janine Kamouh)


With the official arrival of summer and the much-anticipated winding down of the school year, thousands of area middle schoolers are fully willing and ready to slam shut the yearbook on the 2009-2010 session.

For a select group of local students, however, the middle school experience — complete with shifting alliances, weirdly morphing bodies and classroom politics — is ready to go another round. Beginning with an invitation-only dress rehearsal on Thursday and continuing with four performances through Sunday, a cast of 22 young actors and musicians will be taking the Two River Theater stage in Life in the Middle, an original rock musical that “looks at what it’s really like to be right in the middle,” courtesy of dialogue taken directly from middle schoolers.

With every one of the performers boasting his or her own home-grown fan club, it’s no wonder that the entire (expanded) schedule of shows sold out in a flash. But if director and co-author KJ Sanchez has her druthers, everyone in America will get a chance to catch this oral history-based project in the months and years to come.

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