Julian Taylor’s new album unveiled at sneak preview tonight
/ TORONTO EAST/ I’m not sure why versatile Funk-Pop songwriter Julian Taylor decided to call his awesome new album what he did. To me its name, Tech Noir, connotes something dark (the “noir”) and cold (the “tech”); but this album is anything but either of those.
A warm, upbeat, smooth and bopalong collection of eleven superb Funky Pop tracks, Tech Noir is all about love and positive vibes. Obviously inspired by his personal life (now securely paired up with a lovely lady and gifted with the delight of his daughter Ella having become an inspiringly happy toddler, with whom he spends as much time as possible) and by his generally genial and positive personality, this album takes J.T., as friends call him, into a whole new realm of Pop-Funk potence.
These are spellbinding Dance tunes with lyrics mostly about the power of love in one form or another, and with one tune, “No Guns!”, that, along with the love, also makes an important social statement.
(“I don’t need no gun for protection…” the very catchy song says, going on to explain that the singer’s security is created by the love in his life.) This is a tune, like many of the tracks on this album, that seems pre-destined to join Taylor’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” (which is also one of the tracks on the new disc) in being employed in a movie or television series. “NGGYU” played as part of the background music in a club on an episode of the CBS series Elementary broadcast in November of 2012. The tune has also been nominated as a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.
Another tune from the album, “Zero to Eleven”, made it into the second round of CBC-TV’s search for a new Hockey Night In Canada anthem and Taylor also recently completed a bop-friendly “lyric video” of the song (Karaoke-ready!) that appears on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YE6K8RTttMs.
Much of the material on this disc reminds me of (though is not any way derivative from) the late great Haydain Neale, songwriter-singer of the Jacksoul group, who tragically died of cancer on November 22 of 2009 shortly after release of the brilliant Soul Mate album. (The song “Lonesome Highway” from that disc is one of my favourites to spin during any shows I host.)
The resonance with Neale is even more pronounced because, like Neale, Taylor is also a very affable, pleasant fellow. A description by his family of Haydain’s persona on the Jacksoul website could equally be applied to Julian: “[his] sense of humour and love of music … he constantly brightened the room with his singing and his smile … his joyful presence and beautiful voice…”. A better description of being around Julian Taylor I could never come up with.
Also like Neale, Julian is a very community-oriented fellow who does a lot to help promote his fellow artists. And like Jacksoul’s music, this new album is very Dance-Funk friendly, R&B you need good knees to really appreciate!
All of which makes me puzzle even more over the title of the disc. Possibly the “noir” is a reference to his skin colour/racial heritage and perhaps “tech” alludes to the impressive use of studio/recording equipment that makes this disc feel so smooth and natural, as if the music is simply pouring out the speakers like a smooth, rich drink.
That premium-liquid quality of the music should make the album preview-release show Julian is doing tonight at Dora Keogh (prior to his weekly 9-12 open stage at the club at 141 Danforth Ave.) doubly appropriate –he and his band take the stage at 7 as part of a 6-8 invitation-only “whiskey tasting” event being put on by Glenfiddich Single Malts.
While billed as an “invitation-only” event with the door monitored, Julian has been posting about it and telling his friends assiduously, so I have no problem sharing with subscribers the secret password you need to get it: it’s “Captain”. Get there before 6 if you want to be sure the club isn’t already filled to capacity and to find a spot to park your bones when they’re not up jangling and jingling while the band plays.
-Gary 17. www.torontomoon.ca
Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. Admission prices followed by a slash and minus (/-) after the amount indicates door charge with availability of cheaper rates for some purchases. /+ indicates stated price is minimum. Names of subscribers appear in bold and include a live link to their websites where applicable. Advertisers’ listings are in larger type, include live link to website and also have ad icon included in listings.
5-8> Mike Daley Jazz Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
6> Joe Nolan @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
*6-9> Calliope’s Nest open stage/jam for women @ Lola Pub, 40 Kensington Ave., TO
6:30> Peter Hill Quintet @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
7> Julian Taylor Band album release and performance of Tech Noir @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave., TO East ~Funk/Dance/Pop
7-9> Danny Michel Band & guests @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West
7> Hard Time Mondays with Rick & Gailie @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
*7:30> M Factor Mondays with host Elana Harte & features Stacey V; Janice Lee @ Old Nick, 123 Danforth Ave., TO East ~indie Pop
7:30> Advocats Big Band @ Seven44, 744 Mount Pleasant Blvd., TO North ~R&B/Swing
*7:30> Saxy Sady T Trio @ Melange, 172 Main St., TO East ~Jazz
8-12> open stage with Julian Taylor & 9:30 feature by Dora’s Explorers @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave. TO East
8> C&C Surf Factory @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
8> John K & The Outfit @ The Only Café, 972 Danforth Ave., TO East ~Rock
**8-1> open stage with host Michael Burton @ Free Times Café, 320 College St., TO
*8-11> open stage @ McGradie’s, 2167 Victoria Park Ave., Scarborough
8-12> BBQ & jam night with Catherine Harrison @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville; ($8.95 with BBQ dinner special starts at 6)
*8-12> open stage @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
8:30> Jerome Godboo Band & special guest harp player Brendan Power @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~double-harp Blues; $20
**9-1:30> jam with No Band Required @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave., TO
*9-1> Hamstrung Stringband @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Bluegrass
*9-1> Chris Kettlewell Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
*9-1> eclectic open stage/jam @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West
*9> open mic (2 songs; signup starts 8p.m.) @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO
*9-1> jam with Tom Barlow @ The Harp, 55 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit
*9:30-2> Sebastian Agnello & friends @ Black Swan (ground floor), 154 Danforth Ave., TO East
9:30> Dave Young/Terry Promane Octet @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
*10-2> jam with Kimberley Wetmore & Company feat. Dave Girdlestone of Soul Funkshun @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore E., Port Credit
10> Jordan John @ The Orbit Room, 580 College St., TO ~R&B/Blues
10> Chris Weatherstone @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
10:30> Big Otter Creek @ The Hideout, 484 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Rock
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