"Beverly Taft Meets the Nathan Hiltz Orchestra"
The new CD was launched at the gorgeous Jazz Bistro over three nights in April 2014, and I’m very proud of our songs and this terrific band. The record features Nathan Hiltz on guitar and arrangements and as co-songwriter, Artie Roth on upright bass, Sly Juhas on drums, William Carn on trombone, Shawn Nykwist on tenor sax, Rich Underhill on alto sax, Jake Wilkinson on trumpet and very special guest on piano, Adrean Farrugia. We had a fabulous time at the launch, which was supported by Toronto Downtown Jazz as one of its three Special Project Initiatives for 2014. In July, we opened the Mainstage at the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival, and in August, we played at the venerable Rex Hotel in Toronto. We’re now gearing up for some club and festival dates into spring and summer.
Read on to see what the press is saying! View live video from Jazz Bistro here!
From Ori Dagan’s Toronto Jazz Top Ten: “Toronto native Beverly Taft is one of this city’s busiest jazz vocalists – she is performing four gigs at the festival: at Musideum with pianist Robi Botos on June 24 and in various ensembles at the Dominion on Queen; back to back on June 22 from 1 to 4pm with George Westerholm and the York Jazz Ensemble and 5 to 8pm with Sam Murata on violin, Tony Quarrington on guitar and special guest from Japan, pianist Yumi Nakata; and again at the Dominion on June 28 from 4 to 7pm singing bossa nova with Nathan Hiltz on guitar, Jordan O’Connor on bass and Chris Gale on tenor sax. Taft’s is a light instrument that is easy to listen to and her passion for performing this music is always evident.”
Ori Dagan, The Wholenote
"If you're a fan of the jazz standard and swing era, love a voice that envelopes you like a warm embrace, and music that's executed perfectly by some of Toronto's finest jazzers, pick up the new record. Beverly has a reputation for telling a good story so I wasn't surprised to see a tune about how her parents met, songs of love and loss, and a song inspired by several visits to Cuba. And if you think she's caught in a time warp and yearning to be a jazz singer in the 40s or 50s, check the diverse styles the band plays so well. They include a bossa nova, a samba, uptempo swing, a waltz and bebop."
Errol Nazareth, CBC Radio. Big City Small World (April 26, 2014)
“Taft’s easygoing approach and versatility makes her an enjoyable listen for fans of light vocal jazz, but with this kind of accompaniment there’s some added beef on the bandstand that takes matters to another level of swinging richness. The big band of top-drawer talent know one another well, including guitarist Hiltz and a four-piece horn section.
Chris Young, Toronto Star
“Seductive swing originals”
The Scene in T.O.
“Call it a meeting of advanced musical minds. Acclaimed jazz singer Beverly Taft joins forces with noted Juno-winning guitarist/bandleader Nathan Hiltz on collaborative album Beverly Taft Meets The Nathan Hiltz Orchestra. An A-list cast of players includes Richard Underhill (Shuffle Demons), William Carn, Jake Wilkinson, Shawn Nykwist and Adrean Farrugia, and they help these strong original tunes swing (we love the sunny vibe of the Havana-set "Soft Colours By The Seawall"). Taft made a mark with 2003 debut, How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down On The Farm?, and has developed into a high-calibre and versatile vocal stylist. The album is being launched with a three night stand at Toronto jazz hub Jazz Bistro, April 24-26, assisted by a TDJ Special Project Initiative.”
Kerry Doole, New Canadian Music
“With the release of this ebullient parfait of a vocal jazz/big band CD, some much-needed joie de vivre has been transfused back into the current jazz scene. The well-produced project conjures up images and sounds of the classic supper clubs of the 1950s and features ten original compositions, co-authored by engaging vocalist/lyricist Beverly Taft and JUNO award-winning guitarist and arranger, Nathan Hiltz. The recording has a refreshing “live,” organic quality – and no auto-tune or obsessive over-dubbing will be found here... in fact, just as a great actress eschews cosmetic surgery, every nuance and imperfection of Taft’s vocal interpretations is full of life experience, truth and beauty. Additionally, the CD is set against the musical canvas of a swinging and skilled nonet, including William Carn on trombone, Shawn Nykwist on tenor, Richard Underhill on alto, Jake Wilkinson on trumpet, Artie Roth on bass, Sly Juhas on drums and special guest Adrean Farrugia on piano.
Notable tracks include the lilting and sensual Clock Tickin’ Blues (enhanced by Underhill’s funky alto solo) and Gay Repartee at The Ski Chalet, the true love story of Taft’s own parents (with particularly groovy solos by Hiltz and Underhill). Of special mention is the bebop-ish Bouncin’ Round My Brain – a superb band feature and a clear tip of the hat to the great Lambert, Hendricks and Ross’ hit Twisted, as well as the cool, trombone and guitar-driven cooker Travellin’ Along and the closing tune, Izzie and Birdie (about two little girls at play) which showcases Taft’s enchanting lyrics and the inspired piano work of Adrean Farrugia.”
Lesley Mitchell-Clarke, The Wholenote
“Want some sounds that feel like all that’s right about jazz vocalists, but sick of the standards? Step right up and give an ear to Canuck canary Beverly Taft. She’s got a feel and sound like a husky Anita O’Day, but with a wider range and dynamic. Her feel for finger snappers is bona fide, and she uses it to perfection of this release with The Nathan Hiltz Orchestra which is a compact semi-big band of Hiltz/g with Rich Underhill/as, Shawn Nykwist/ts, William Carn/tb, Jake Wilkinson/tp, Artie Roth/b and Sly Juihas/dr. She and the band have some fun on pieces such as a slinky “Clock Tickin’ Blues” (with a nice sol by Underhill) as well as a loose and lazy “Behind the Clouds.” She goes latin lover on a samba-ish “Soft Colours by the Sea Wall” while goes bopper on “Trav’llin’ Along”. A tip of the hat to “Twisted” is felt on the wild and wacky “Bouncin’ Round My Brain” which features the bandleader on a cooking little solo, while a duet with pianist Adrean Farrugia on the closing “Izzie & Birdie” feels like it’s the last song before the chairs are stacked on the tables. You’re gonna fall for this lady! When’s she and the gang coming to the Best Coast?”
George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly (California)
“Beverly and the 'boys in the band' got it all together and put it right out there for us to enjoy. Nice to hear a blending of Beverly's easy-goin' style with some great solo and solid backing work from the band. It works...and that's what it's all about!”
~ On the Air with Vincent Murphy www.cjtr.ca Regina, Saskatchewan
If you enjoy jazz standards from the era of swing, Beverly Taft Meets The Nathan Hiltz Orchestra might be your thing. It certainly appealed to many who attended this year's Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival. The 10 original songs (lyrics by Taft and music by Hiltz) features Taft's smooth, sultry alto, a voice that belies her years, and Hiltz's fluid guitar. The four-piece horn section features Rich Underhill on alto sax, Shawn Nykwist on tenor sax, William Carn on trombone and Jake Wilkinson on trumpet, with Artie Roth on bass, Sly Juhas on drums and special guest Adrean Farrugia on piano. Spanning slow, minor blues and bossa nova rhythms, upbeat, bass- and piano-driven ballads and big-band tributes, Beverly Taft Meets The Nathan Hiltz Orchestra filters the jazz of a bygone era through fresh, contemporary lens.
~ Robert Reid, Waterloo Record
"I usually like to hear a standard or two but your original music and lyrics came through with flying colours. It is very nicely sequenced and put together. The musicians were outstanding. Some excellent solos and great ensemble work."
CHRY, Some Experiences In Jazz (Rob Fogle)
"Love this recording!! Beverly and Nathan’s latest release is full of great vocals, tight arrangements and a crack orchestra delivering a highly listenable recording that is fun, focused and above all satisfying."
CHUO, In Transition (Randy McElligott)
"What an incredible CD this is- the music is soft, sultry and seductive. Our kind of stuff!”
WHCJ-FM, Savannah Georgia (Barry Rosen)
Love the old big band sound with vocals... Never goes out of style!!"
WRTC (Bob Parzych), Hartford Connecticut
“Beverly Taft is a great singer, but not that only; she is a great jazz singer, with perfect timing and swing.”
~ Jan Nederveen, Radio 794, The Netherlands
“Excellent Music and vocals.”
~ Pete & Fran Burford, CoastFM 96.3, “Jazz Vibes”, Australia
"Wonderful stage presence, commands the audience, great back up musicians."
Blue Mountain Jazz Festival
“Can a Toronto gal write and play new samba flavored jazz vocal tunes north of the border? Apparently yes. Not adhering too strictly to any set of rules, Taft and her crew know what it takes to warm up a northern night and they do it so well. Well played, easy grooving stuff that it’s easy to get lost in, jazz vocal fans have a first class good time platter spinning here. Check it out.”
~ Chris Spector, Midwest Record (Illinois)