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Dena Taylor - The Nearness Of You (2014)
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Dena Taylor - The Nearness Of You (2014)

18-02-2014, 18:52
Music | Jazz | Vocal Jazz

Dena Taylor - The Nearness Of You (2014)

Artist: Dena Taylor
Title Of Album: The Nearness Of You
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: Dena Taylor
Genre: Jazz Vocals
Format: MP3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 Khz
Total Time: 41:05
Total Size: 101 Mb
Covers: Front

01. When October Goes (3:42)
02. Solitude (4:02)
03. But Beautiful (4:33)
04. Besame Mucho (4:04)
05. The Nearness Of You (5:48)
06. Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me (3:42)
07. If I Love Again (2:41)
08. For All We Know (4:37)
09. The Look Of Love (3:20)
10. The Very Thought Of You (4:31)

Dena Taylor explores the varying levels of personal intimacy through both her song selection and masterful delivery of these Jazz Standards on The Nearness of You. From the first bars of “When October Goes,” the piano gently leads the listener into Taylor’s first silky vibrato, and from that point on there is no choice but to give in to her melodic journey. Taylor’s singing on this track evokes a sense of nostalgia and seclusion, as if one is sitting in a smoke-filled Jazz nightclub watching the moments drift softly into the abyss and waiting for a lost love that is not going to show. She follows this with the more ironically up-beat “Solitude.” Echoing the timbres and style of the great Billie Holliday, she explores another glimpse towards nostalgia that arouses the sense of such a longing, and the sweet side of a bittersweet feeling. The juxtaposition of these two tracks right from the start demonstrates not only the strong range of her Jazz repertoire, but also a deeper understanding of the versatility of feeling that can be conveyed given similar subject matter.

A distinct shift in tone and sentiment comes with Taylor’s rendition of the sultry “Besame Mucho.” The listener, mentally transported to a charming Latin club somewhere on the Central American coast, feels the gentle swells in both her band’s accompaniment and her lyrical delivery. The feel is cool, mellifluously smooth, and triggers a wonderful sensation of something foreign, yet universal though music. This leads directly into the title track, “The Nearness of You.” Taylor has led the listener from nostalgia through longing, and lands us in the ephemeral and warm spirit of Ella Fitzgerald with this track. She leaves room for her accompanying musicians to tastefully explore and muse with the form, and then takes up the mantel herself, commenting melodically through her own expression of tenderness.

The shift in subject matter that occurs with “Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me” marks a turning point towards reflection in this journey. The very feelings of longing and solitude that drive one to find and explore passion also lead down roads of trepidation, and the remaining tracks convey that distance from the build to “nearness.” There is no clearer example of this than her choice to follow with “If I Love Again.” Taylor echoes the sentiment conveyed in the opening tracks, but with a new understanding and exploration of those feelings. Closing out with Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You” comments on the cycle of the journey The Nearness of You embarks upon from the outset. The distance between longing and love, nearness and solitude, tenderness and indifference, comes full circle when looked at through the wider lens of the album as a whole.

Musically, Taylor executes these Jazz standards with an ear towards the past, but an eye towards the sentiment. What’s most striking is how she blends a range of styles within the Jazz genre to explore exactly what “nearness” implies both semantically and emotionally. The longing for nearness, the distance from nearness, and the ambivalence of nearness are all metaphorically and harmonically commented upon in a subtle way that does not demand a trained ear to decipher, but does reward one. ~Samuel Marvin, MA Humanities – University of Chicago

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