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With her sparkling sophomore release, I Love Being Here With You, songstress Dione Taylor has emerged as a fully-formed and exciting young artist. While unmistakably a jazz album, I Love Being Here With You reflects Dione Taylor’s love and background in gospel, rhythm & blues and soul. Her rich and smoky voice has a truly soulful quality, one attractively complemented by her keenly trained musical ear. This combination of soulfulness and subtlety is an irresistible one. Her eclecticism is apparent as Dione cites soul queen Aretha Franklin, jazz chanteuse Sarah Vaughan, opera diva Leontyne Price and smooth-voiced jazzman Johnny Hartman as inspirations and influences.

Ms. Taylor first seduced ears and turned heads with her 2004 debut disc, Open Your Eyes. It earned her Juno, Canadian Urban Music and National Jazz Award nominations, and was named one of the Top Recordings of 2004 by Canada’s premiere jazz radio station, Jazz.FM 91. The critical verdicts were unanimously positive and impressive international airplay helped the disc find its way into the homes and hearts of music lovers around the globe.

To record her latest album, I Love Being Here With You, Dione paired up with producers Doug Riley (Ray Charles, David Clayton-Thomas, The Brecker Brothers) and Sandy Mamane (Dione Taylor). “I’ve always been a big fan of Doug Riley and loved the results of the last album with Sandy so all three of us put our heads together and made some magic! ” The producers helped assemble an ace team of players including Jake Langley, Guido Basso, Pat LaBarbera, Terry Clarke and international piano virtuoso, Benny Green.  Another special guest on the album is vocal jazz sensation Denzal Sinclaire. He duets with Dione on the tender and romantic title track “I Love Being Here With You” an original composition of Dione’s. The disc is stylistically eclectic, exciting and adventurous yet accessible and entertaining.
A pastor’s daughter from Saskatchewan Canada, music has always been an integral part of Ms. Taylor’s life. She was born and raised in a family she describes as “really connected to the gift of song. My whole family sings in church and plays instruments… and they’re all great singers!” She began playing the organ at age four and at the tender age of ten, she became musical director and organist at The Shiloh Assembly Church (Apostolic) in Regina. A career turning point came when Ms. Taylor enrolled at the world-renowned jazz program at the Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology. Dione excelled academically and received the college’s Thomas Kehoe Memorial Award for Outstanding Vocal Performance, graduating with honors from the program in 2003. While completing those studies, she entered an international competition for jazz students. She was selected as of one of six jazz musicians from around the globe for the “Jazz and the New Generation” program. Led by Dr. Billy Taylor, it was sponsored by The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and its winners performed at a prestigious concert on the Millennium Stage.

An assured and charming performer, Ms. Taylor has already sung in front of presidents and royalty. In June 2004, merely 2 weeks after releasing her debut CD, she was invited to participate in a concert celebrating Black Music Month in the United States at the White House for the President and First Lady, and less than a year later she performed alongside other stars for Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and Joni Mitchell at the Saskatchewan Centennial Gala of the Arts. “Blessed with an incredible voice, Dione Taylor is well on her way to being one of Canada’s ambassadors of music” states Denzal Sinclaire. Recent notable appearances include the 2005 Nightlife Jazz Tour, the Women’s Blues Revue at Toronto’s famed Massey Hall and the 2005 Festival International de Jazz de Montreal where performed with soul divas Patti LaBelle, Ann Peebles and the legendary Neville Brothers.

Ms. Taylor has delivered an album comprising of a well-chosen mix of jazz standards such as Arlen and Capote’s “A Sleepin’ Bee”, a blues-drenched and moving Etta James inspired version of “He’s Funny That Way” and a charging rendition of Cole Porter’s “Just One Of Those Things” featuring phenomenal solos by Dione and pianist Benny Green. Whether belting it out on the brass-fuelled rendition of Louis Jordan’s “Knock Me A Kiss” or softly serenading on unforgettably haunting ballads like “The Angels’ Share”(Breithaupt Bros.) and “Before We Said Goodbye” (composed by singer/songwriter Marc Jordan and Holly Cole pianist Aaron Davis) she is in full control of her instrument. Ms. Taylor has earned kudos for her skill in interpreting classics and putting an imaginative spin on more contemporary material (her cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” is a fine example here), but she is especially proud of her own evolution into a compelling songwriter. Four of the tunes on I Love Being Here With Youare self-penned, ranging from the jaunty and self-confident “Little Black Dress”, the sexy and provocative proclamation “Fantasy” and the poignantly affirmative  “I’ll Be There”. Her well -crafted and passionate original compositions demonstrate an artist of emotional maturity and honesty well beyond her years.

 “This is my Love album. It explores all different kinds of love: intimate love, love for yourself, love for your friends and love for God.  The universal language of love is music and this is my gift to the world.”

With I Love Being Here With You, this vibrant talent has created an album you are indeed going to love spending time with.

October 2006

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