Six-and-a-half foot tall children's singer-songwriter "Big Jeff" DeSmedt first laid hands on a guitar at the age of six. An early interest in American folk music and the Beatles led to progressive rock and modern jazz; and as a member of the New Jersey Folk Project, Big Jeff added Irish folk music, country, and Dixieland to his repertoire. He began writing songs for his daughter Molly when she was 2 years old, and he started playing for children nearly 10 years ago at the New Jersey daycare center where he worked as an aide and school bus driver. As his popularity grew, he transitioned into a full-time career as a children's musician, performing at numerous venues throughout New Jersey and the greater New York metropolitan area.
Already the author of several classic day care tunes, including "Big Pterodactyl in the Sky" and "The Orange Song," Big Jeff remains a prolific songwriter with a diverse catalog. The new release, Big Jeff and His Middle-Sized Band, introduces a playful rock edge, while his earlier CDs -- Big Jeff I, Big Jeff II, and Big Jeff's Halloween Routine -- are more country and folk influenced.
Big Jeff's experience as a childcare professional and parent ensures that his shows are packed with fun, movement-oriented songs that both entertain and educate. And Big Jeff's Middle-Sized Band -- which features Mark Rufino, aka "The World's Happiest Bass Player"; Dave "Mr. Kleiner" Kleiner, lead guitarist and third-grade teacher; and drummer and educator "Cool Ken" Serio -- is a group of seasoned and versatile musicians that is able to not only explore rock and roll with power and grace, but also to delve into a bit of funk, reggae, ska, blues, and doo-wop.
In addition to performing regularly at over two dozen schools and daycare centers, Big Jeff performs both solo and with the Middle-Sized Band at numerous festivals, benefits, park concerts, libraries, and other public venues, including the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival and the Morristown Fall Festival and Street Fair. An active member of the Children's Entertainment Association and the New Jersey Folk Project, Big Jeff has released four children's music CDs and a concert DVD.