Transplanted jazz artist returns with new project

Taylor Cook has whipped up a new menu of music with The Cook Book

TORONTO-BASED JAZZ musician Taylor Cook

TORONTO-BASED JAZZ musician Taylor Cook

After moving to Toronto to pursue his jazz career, a Naramata native is back in the Okanagan to debut his latest work.

Taylor Cook has whipped up a new menu of music with The Cook Book, and the public’s first chance to hear it will be at Poplar Grove Winery and the Vanilla Pod Restaurant on Aug. 23.

“With The Cook Book, the record itself, the idea is new compositions as well as new arrangements of tunes that I have released on recordings before.”

To give the performance a uniquely Okanagan flavour, Cook will be combining his talents with those of local musicians Tavis Weir, Justin Glibbery, Stefan Bienz and Mike Treadway, as well as Ben McConchie from Vancouver Island. The six of them will be going through the entirety of The Cook Book – which in the studio, employed a multitude of arrangements and compositions. Performing live, the sextet will have to stretch their musical limits to match the sounds on the album, as the ensemble size for each song on the record ranged from four to 12. One of the musicians to assist in recording The Cook Book was saxophonist Tim Ries, whose best known for recording his work onto two Rolling Stones albums.

“When you’re in the studio, you really have to worry about every second, fitting things in, who’s going to solo where – it’s a little more structured,” Cook said. “At a live show you can structure legs a bit, open things up and it really brings a whole new element to it.”

Cook said the sextet could perform the same setlist night after night, and the same music would never be played twice.

“For each of the tunes, there’s going to be the statement of the melody, and that’s going to be quite specifically planned out – at least for the material that we’re going to be playing.

“Once the melody is stated then it goes into solos,” he said. “The form will repeat, so the chords and the length of the song will repeat without melody and then that’s where the solos happen.”

He said each song will feature two or three soloists, sometimes even four. But to get things going, the musicians will first work off each other’s strengths, he said.

“Because everyone’s following the same formula and the solo would be one, two or three times through the forms, you’re always going to finish your solo at the end of a form. So there’s a little more structure to it than it may seem sometimes.”

In his growth as an artist, Cook said making the move to Toronto allowed him the opportunity to study alongside world-class musicians in a community that strongly embraces the genre.

“Toronto, at least for Canada, is the centre; there’s the most people doing jazz related activities, so you’re going to have a high quality of musician through and through,” he said.

“When I moved, the first time I went to Toronto, coming from Naramata, it was this new, scary, awesome place.”

But Toronto paled in comparison to the Big Apple.

“The next step from there – I spent little bit of time studying in New York City.”

Cook said Toronto has become a place of comfort for him, and he visits New York about once a year to feel the big city excitement.

“I’ll grab a couple of lessons, see a few shows and then come back really excited and then practice for a few months.”

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $30, and for $130 guests can opt into the four course chef’s dinner with pairings and reserved seating. Reservations can be booked at 250-486-5814.