November 2006

Dione Taylor – I Love Being Here With You CD release party
November 8, 2006 Lula LoungeToronto
Report by Paul J. Youngman with photos by Roger Humbert
The second album by Canadian songstress Dione Taylor I Love Being Here With You, finds Taylor in fine form and backed up by an orchestra of top rated, world-class musicians, producers and arrangers. With no end of talent from song to song, there is something for everyone on this recording. Taylor sings from the heart, she has a rhythm and blues base to work from and each and every song swings con-passione. The production is of award-winning quality and highlights Taylor’s intriguing style.

Dione Taylor was introduced to the stage at Lula Lounge, one of the premier clubs in Toronto, by Walter Venafro from Jazz.Fm. Ms. Taylor, with the utmost beauty, grace, poise and control took to the stage and immediately took command of the room. The room was packed with media personalities of one form or another at this media party pre-show. All of the attention was generated by the release of Taylor’s new album I Love Being Here With You. None of this was cause for anxiety. Once Dione Taylor stepped on the stage, it was her time and she had come to take no prisoners.

Dione Taylor has a voice that is warm and inviting, she swings in every tune she sings, reminding me of a horn instrument and with similar soothing qualities. She performed five songs; “A Sleepin’ Bee” to open, followed by a Prince composition “Nothing Compares 2 U”. “Little Black Dress”, a number she really nailed was next. Easy to listen to, it is the first track on the CD and has homerun written all over it. Taylor is at her most comfortable on these moderato R&B-style tunes. She sang a beautiful rendition of “The Angels Share,” with an angelic quality and incredible energy. The combination of the strikingly beautiful Ms. Taylor and the emotional lyric of “The Angels Share” produced a feeling that was close to overwhelming. This strength of emotion was aided by the musicians who were providing superlative accompaniment.

The accompaniment for the live show was provided by Dave Restivo (piano), David French (saxophone), Jon Maharaj (acoustic bass) and Joel Haynes (drums). The final song, a last minute decision spurred on by the appreciative audience, “Today I Sing The Blues” had a fantastic feel, deep emotion that emanated from the soul. This is not the blues of convention; energy to knock down walls poured out of this volcano of talent. Ms. Taylor reached the final note near the top of her range. She held that note with fury and continued to produce a dynamic energy, holding onto that feeling through two bars of wonderful sustain.

Dione Taylor is a very soulful, bluesy singer who has developed a nice sound that is all her own. At times, I’m reminded of the refined Dianne Reeves, the soulful Abby Lincoln and the blues of a Willie Mae Thorton, a little bit of all that vocal beauty shines through. The song “He’s Funny That Way”, a laid-back blues, has a marvellous horn arrangement by Doug Riley. The horns are in fine support of Taylor, creating layers of an exceptional full sound that Taylor feeds off, answering the horn player’s mournful pleas. On the CD, the tenor saxophone of Pat Labarbera, trumpet and flugelhorn of Guido Basso, trumpet of Steve McDade, trombone of William Carn and baritone saxophone of Perry White break through and build the feel to a grand climax. Check this recording out for this song alone, it is a priceless masterpiece of musicality, production and arrangement.

The Taylor composition “I Love Being Here With You,” opens with a classical feel, a cello played arco sets the tone and opens with a laid back melancholy feel. Taylor takes the first verse in harmony with the strings, setting the tone for guest vocalist Denzal Sinclaire to provide a sounding board for all this sadness in what is supposed to be a love song. The song is arranged by Dione Taylor, the strings are arranged by Doug Riley. The final chorus has the string section building to some joy but the vocalists have set the course for mesto.

The next Taylor composition, “Fantasy”, is night and day from the previous tune, an emotional roller coaster of a tune that draws you in and makes you start fantasizing. The song has great lyrics, very appealing when put into context, with its hot bossa rhythm and pulsating horns. The horn arrangement is by Daniel Stone, song arrangement by Taylor, Stone and Sandy Mamane. The song goes out with a nice duo of Taylor and Bill McBirnie on flute. The drumming duties on the session are split between David DiRenzo and Terry Clarke. DiRenzo provides some fine playing in this tune and every number he performs on.

The Cole Porter standard “Just One Of Those Things,” is a highlight trio number that finds Taylor at her most comfortable and swinging up a storm. The piano solo on this number is great, performed by Benny Green in triple time, high energy with comping by bassist Jim Vivian and Clarke on drums at his best.

The CD recording of “The Angels Share,” composed by Don and Jeff Breithaupt is performed with the trio of Jim Vivian (bass), Benny Green (piano) and Terry Clarke (drums). A melancholy ballad that pours forth emotion, it is the final track on the record and a tune that makes you want more of the angelic purity that is Dione Taylor.

1. Little Black Dress 2. Knock Me A Kiss 3. Forget Me 4. He's Funny That Way
5. Nothing Compares 2 U 6. A Sleepin' Bee 7. Save Your Love For Me 8. I Love Being Here With You
9. Fantasy 10. Just One Of Those Things 11. Before We Said Goodbye
12. I'll Be There 13. The Angels' Share

We welcome your comments and feedback
Paul J. Youngman
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Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report

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