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Take Five With...

Take Five With Dena Taylor

By Published: March 4, 2010
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
) from my CD, Round Midnight. I love this song lyrically... I think the words are exquisite and describe perfectly a situation that so many people have found themselves in one time or another. And it's a song where the music has that perfect balance of dark and lonely and longing and hope. I picked this song because I loved it and it made me reach in order to do it justice. Plus, I was working with some of the finest musicians I know and who I was also privileged to call my friends.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Truthfully, I can't remember but I know when I first got "the bug." I was given a box of records by a friend who found them while cleaning out her father's house after he passed away. She said, "You want any of these old things." I sat in front of my record player for that entire weekend. The deeper I got into the box, I started separating those records with band singers and, from that point on, I was hooked.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? are contributing musically? I think that I am showing that a song doesn't lose it's ability to move and to touch both the musician and the audience just because it's fallen out of vogue or style. I invite people to come into the music with me rather than just trying to impress them.

Did you know... I'm addicted to old black & white movies!

CDs you are listening to now:
Del Castillo—Del Castillo
Duke Elegant—Dr. John
Songbird—Eva Cassidy
Fiddler on the Roof—Cast Album
Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall

Desert Island picks:
At Long Last by Rosemary Clooney with The Count Basie Orchestra (Concord Jazz)
Anything by Joe Bonamassas
I Refuse to Be Lonely by Phyllis Hyman (Volcano)
Trouble by Steve Thorpe (Lost Gold Records)
Judy At Carnegie Hall by Judy Garland (Capitol Records)

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

I've noticed a great sense of snobbery within the different "sub-genres" of jazz. Could that it's more of a societal issue than a music one... just sad. I see so much classism .. horns "dis" drums or instruments "dis" vocalists. Bands without vocalists tend to think bands with vocalists aren't as good or as "real." A lot of younger talent out there gets discouraged because their musical strength & calling might not be in vogue so they don't get the opportunity to build up their talent (and confidence) to a degree that they can step up and outside their "zones."

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Getting kids exposed to and involved with ALL of the different incarnations of jazz. Too, I don't think it's just a case of simple exposure but to teach them a broad appreciation of all those different incarnations not just as they are now but from the roots. I recently talked to some teenagers about music .. they said "my" style was old and boring. That I could semi-understand, heck .. back in the day, I remember listening to the Beatles or some rock-n-roll and then having to listen to my parent's music and rolling my eyes before dramatically falling over and shouting, "Stop .. it's so boring!" Didn't last long before I developed an ability to appreciate both. I still do .. I don't think kids get an opportunity to develop that appreciation. But then that exposure happens in the home AND in school and with the way music is being dropped from schools, it's not unexpected.

What is in the near future?

Having finally wrapped and then released my newest CD, The Nearness of You, the focus is on getting it out there and heard. Right now I'm enjoying some of the attention it is getting like getting 5 nominations for the 2014 Indie Music Awards and planning a trip out to LA for the event. I'm in that state of completion AND preparation where I'm actually starting to think about another CD inspite of my saying .. that's it .. I'm done .. never again! And continuing to search for that little jazz club with clinking ice cubes, blue spot lights and a slight haze in which to sing!

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Heaven only knows!!

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Download jazz mp3 “The Nearness of You” by Dena Taylor Download jazz mp3 “Song For My Father” by Dena Taylor