Taylor Cook admits there isn’t really a Justin Bieber or Bono in his music genre of choice, but with a couple of records out already and having worked with one of the big names blowing on the saxophone, he is cutting his own niche to stardom.
“Jazz as a genre doesn’t have your superstar status. I’ll probably never sell out a stadium,” said the 24-year-old Cook. “But, you are not going to have high-end status right away and it is something I look forward to.”
More like, well on his way to, and Penticton will get a taste of his music this weekend as he holds down a two-night gig at the Dream Café. The Pen High grad, who was raised in Naramata, completed his music studies at the University of Toronto last year where he released two CD’s, he has found gigs working in Toronto including musical theatrical productions and the Toronto Jazz Orchestra. He also has worked closely with Tim Ries, a saxophonist who has cultivated a healthy career appearing on Grammy award winning albums, does session work with Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and others as well going on tour with the Rolling Stones.
“Tim is one of the nicest, humblest people I know. The record we did together was recorded in New York and I not only had him, but he brought some of the best to support me there. Tim playing on the record For Lillia was incredible. He is a huge inspiration and is a fantastic teacher,” said Cook. “The space we were recording in, to think of all the people that previously recorded there was very cool and definitely inspiring.”
Among those who recorded at Avatar Studios include Bruno Mars, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick, Paul McCartney and other recognizable names. Cook credits his post-secondary for many opportunities but he doesn’t forget who helped push him in the right direction in Penticton.
“Justin (Glibbery) definitely was a huge factor in getting me out there and shaping me as I grew up. He is a great player and educator and gave me opportunities when they arose and feedback when I needed it. Larry Crawford is someone who I also studied with through high school and that is where most of my jazz knowledge came from that I applied at the school level through ensembles and different scenarios,” said Cook.
Between teaching, gigs and his part-time job at a bicycle shop — Cook’s other passion in life — the musician plans on creating another album. This time, focused on collaboration with different sized ensembles and new arrangements on his original material that was previously recorded.
Originally slated for a one night affair at the Dream Café, it had to be carried over to two performances as the first sold out quickly. Cook will be bringing along Tavis Weir on guitar and Stefan Bienz on bass, both of which are well known in the area. Weir, a guitar player, from the Okanagan and Bienz is the “go-to bass player in the South Okanagan” according to Cook.
They will be playing repertoire from one of Canada’s finest jazz saxophone trio; Ed Bickert, Mike Murley and Steve Wallace who created a Juno award winning record in Live At The Senator. Cook has arranged tunes off that record for his trio and will follow that up with his original compositions. This is not the first time Cook has played at the Dream Café, nor does he hope its the last. He said there is something electric about the place that overtakes you when you walk into the room. Now that Cook is finished school he strives to be able to say yes to more interesting projects that comes his way and be “in the pocket” as jazz musicians say.
“The ideal end goal is to be the go-to guy, whether it is something for a musical, a recording session, live show or a cocktail party. I want to be available to play in as many scenarios as possible,” said Cook. “There are gigs that you have that are fulfilling financially and gigs that are fulfilling musically. Sometimes they intersect and that is fantastic.”