Scott Marks 3:09 p.m., June 23
Teagan Taylor Group at Hooley's Irish Pub
Taylor is equally impressive as a singer and horn player.
Non jazz bars are the proving grounds for young jazz musicians-- kind of a Petri dish to learn and ply their craft under trying circumstances, and with the right attitude, a musician like vocalist/trumpeter Teagan Taylor can make people who didn't necessarily come for the music pay attention.
I headed to the East County on August 11, to check the Taylor group out at Hooley's Irish Pub in Rancho San Diego.
The group is a family affair with father Tim Taylor manning the guitars, brother Dylan Taylor on the electric bass, plus Duke Ventura on drums.
Taylor's aesthetic is really kind of perfect for playing in a noisy bar. Her tunes often take on rock, blues and reggae as influences and the band projects quite well. Taylor herself has a distinct Norah Jones vibe happening -- but her voice is actually much stronger -- she often has to back way off of the microphone when she's belting one out.
I caught the first two sets of a three-hour Sunday show, walking in just in time to experience the slinky swamp feel of "Crooked Girl,"`off her "Wonderland," CD, which grooved along quite nicely, but really opened up when she picked up her cornet and blew a growling solo.
On the more blues oriented material, Tim Taylor really shines -- he's got a sort of Mark Knopfler Telecaster thing happening, with precisely bent notes and tastefully restrained volume. When the group delves into jazz, it is with a decidedly Western Swing attitude-- making tunes like "Flying Machine," really percolate.
An island feel dominated "Georgia on my Mind," showcasing Taylor Sr.'s jazz/blues chops and allowing Teagan to really demonstrate her acrobatic vocal range. "Love Me Today," a minor-key ballad, turned smoky with a limber, muted horn feature.
My favorite moment came when Teagan and her father opened the second set as a duo, with a brand-new piece called "Food For Thought." With just the sound of clean-toned chords in support, Ms. Taylor had the space to exploit her command of nuance -- which is considerable.
There were other highlights as well, including "Just Another Day," which capitalized on her natural sense of phrasing, "To The Moon & Back," which drew on the insouciant motion of Dylan Taylor's walking bass and the swirling brushstrokes of Ventura and the rockish adaptation of "Night & Day," where she scatted and hit some really high tones dead center.
Taylor has a bunch of gigs coming up. She'll be back at Hooley's on Sept. 21, and you can check her schedule at www.teagantaylor.com