My Funny Valentine-Memories of Chet Baker
Recorded at The Studio, NYC, with STEVE KUHN, piano; EDDIE GOMEZ, bass; LEWIS NASH, drums and CARLOS FRANZETTI assisting in production. John Huddy of The Miami Herald, in an article about the great Tony Bennett, wrote, "Bennett scampers over to a desk, nd returns with a pocket-size tape recorder. The hotel orchestra leader, Jerry Marshall, had brought a beautiful young Miami singer backstage.Bennett says with unrestrained enthusiasm, 'she's really unique, you gotta listen to her. I think she's really something.' Bennett plays a demo tape for the singer, Laura Taylor, praising every note. He sounds like a proud father describing the latest success of a talented offspring." Bennett is not alone in his reaction to singer/songwriter Laura Taylor...Michael Paskevich, The Las Vegas Review Journal:"Taylor's stylized singing presents her with plenty of challenges and she proved up to the task during her 45 minute early set.Taylor's closing take on "Mountain Greenery" found her turning the song inside-out and making it her own, no mean feat when it comes to show standards, and further served notice that Taylor is a name to watch for." Joe Delaney, The Las Vegas Sun: "...a beauty with voice to match, plus a fine jazz feel, Laura Taylor treated all concerned to a varied program that included requests and a world-class treatment of "The Nearness of You"." Bob Shemeligian gave Laura a full page review in Show Biz Magazine under the heading: SONGSTRESS LAURA TAYLOR MESMERIZES AUDIENCES WITH SILKY VOCAL STYLINGS... "Many of Taylor's listeners agree that the singer's most remarkable quality is her voice. It's not uncommon to see listeners captivated by Taylor's vocal range as if they're floating in a dream." Laura is the product of a rich musical background. Her mother was a Juilliard graduate, concert pianist and teacher, and her father was a successful business man and gifted singer. Together they instilled in Laura a love for music which has been a guiding force in her life. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Laura was raised in Watertown, New York and Monroe, Ohio. At seventeen, Laura was awarded a scholarship to study opera at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with the great voice teacher, Professor Robert Powell. After two years of study with Professor Powell, his untimely death prompted a move into commercial music and jazz for Laura. Still in her teens, she began her professional career performing in small clubs, eventually going into commercial and studio work.. Laura was the solo voice on the national campaign for United Airlines' Fly the Friendly Skies of United- and also the now-famous Wouldn't You Really Rather Have a Buick? campaign. A move to Miami, Florida was followed by a long association with Criteria Recording Studios, which included vocal contracting and singing for Beatles' producer, George Martin on a soundtrack for the film Honkey Tonk Freeway, a song demo for the Bee Gee's Morris Gibb, and solo background work for Tom Dowd on the Firefall Elan album, for which she was presented a platinum album. Laura signed her first record deal with Criteria's own label- Good Sounds Records- whose parent company and distributor was T.K. Records. This opened the door for Laura's dual talents as singer and songwriter. Her first album was called Dancin' In My Feet. The title song, Dancin' In My Feet, became the theme song for the nationally syndicated TV show Disco Magic and rose to #4 on Billboard's national disco chart. Three of her original songs- Lady Scorpio- All Through Me- and Some Love- also made Billboard and Record World charts. During this same period, on three separate occasions, Laura electrified Miami Dolphins fans with her a cappella version of The Star Spangled Banner. Laura's success as a songwriter continued when Diana Ross included her original song Think I'm In Love on her album Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The song was also selected as the flip-side of Ms. Ross' single release. This resulted in Laura being presented with her second platinum album. Enthusiasm for Laura both as a singer and songwriter led to appearances on Midnight Special, The Dinah Shore Show and The Merv Griffin Show, where she showcased several of her original songs. Forming the Laura Taylor Trio, Laura moved to New York and enjoyed engagements at the St. Regis Hotel, the Oak Room in the Plaza Hotel, and an exclusive six year contract at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. During this time, she also appeared in concert at Carnegie Recital Hall, which featured her trio,The Manhattan School of Music String Quartet, and special guest artist,Dave Samuels, from the group Spiro Gyra. Working in New York also gave Laura the opportunity to perform as part of the legendary Joe Henderson Quartet performing two Henderson compositions she wrote lyrics for, Isotope and Black Narcissus, and hearing Mr. Henderson perform two of her original compositions, Lovelight and Spellbound. Continuing her association with great jazz musicians, Laura was asked to record Isotope with jazz piano great Steve Kuhn on his CD, Porgy. Also featured on this CD are her vocal and lyrics to Steve's beautiful Lullaby composition. Opening for the great comedian, Don Rickles, in Atlantic City and Las Vegas led to a long engagement in the Starlight Theater of the Desert Inn Hotel and a move to Las Vegas. Continuing her jazz career, she performed several times on the legendary Monday Night Jazz series broadcast on National Public Radio and hosted by Alan Grant. Laura's other concert appearances included opening the Las Vegas Government Center, several Las Vegas Jazz Society concerts and two appearances at the Riviera Hotel's Monday Night Jazz with Don Menza. Critical acclaim and national radio airplay have been given to Laura's three recent jazz CDs: Mountain Greenery featuring jazz greats Jack Sheldon, Pete and Conte Condoli, Red Holloway and guitarist Joe Lano; Cry Me a River, a tribute to the late Julie London, featuring Joe Lano and Tom Warrington, and Songs of the Winter Season, also featuring Joe Lano. Laura is currently releasing her fourth CD...My Funny Valentine...Memories of Chet Baker...featuring jazz legends Steve Kuhn, Eddie Gomez and Lewis Nash. Check current news on the web site for the release date. While continuing to live in Las Vegas, Laura does many special events and concerts, the most recent being The Duke Ellington Sacred Concert with Laura as the featured soloist with the Las Vegas Master Singers and the UNLV Jazz Ensemble performing this incredible work. Upcoming performances include her fifth appearance on The Dennis Bono Radio Show and a concert for the Henderson Arts Council on August 26th (also check current events for more information).