Dena Taylor Music
Gig Seeker Pro

Dena Taylor Music

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1998
Solo Jazz Country


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Nearness of You (2014): Review by Bree Noble of Women of Substance Radio"

Listening to Dena Taylor's new album "The Nearness of You" is like eavesdropping on a conversation between two lovers. The ease of the "back and forth" exchange between Dena and the jazz ensemble demonstrates their commitment to each other and the integrity of the music.

Dena sings these standards with passion and care, like a mother cradles a newborn. Her vocals are both sultry and lyrical with a signature vibrato akin to the female crooners of old.

Some standout tracks include the title track, "Solitude", "Besame Mucho" and "The Look of Love" just to name a few. But listen to the album in its entirety to be transported to another time and place for an hour. You'll be glad you took the journey.

Bree Noble, Women of Substance Radio - Women of Subtance Radio

"The Nearness of You (2014): Review by Scott Yanow (Author of The Jazz Singers, Jazz on Record 1917-76)"

Veteran singer Dena Taylor has experienced a great deal in her life including spending 12 years overseas as a soldier in the military (when it did not interfere with the work that she was doing, she had the opportunity to sing with touring USO shows that were in the field of operations where she was deployed), surviving a terrible car accident after returning to the US, and developing into a very effective ballad and standards singer who puts a lot of feeling into her interpretations of lyrics. She gained recognition during her period in Florida and is currently based in Austin, Texas. Ms. Taylor has recorded several CDs of which The Nearness Of You is her most recent.

Accompanied by several different rhythm sections which include some of the top jazz players in Texas, Dena Taylor performs ten timeless standards on The Nearness Of You. With fine support and excellent solos from her sidemen, particularly guitarists Grammy winner Redd Volkaert and Rick McRae and pianist David Chao, she excels on a variety of high-quality material. Most of the songs are taken at slower tempos and put the spotlight on Ms. Taylor's heartfelt ballad singing. While she puts a lot of feeling and sensitivity into the lyrics, she never overwhelms the material and instead lets the words speak for themselves.

Among the highlights are "When October Comes," a pretty version of "But Beautiful," "For All We Know" and a superb rendering of "The Nearness Of You." Bossa nova treatments of "Besame Mucho" and "The Look Of Love" give variety to the set of pleasing and memorable music.

Lovers of superior ballad singing will definitely want to acquire Dena Taylor's The Nearness Of You.

Scott Yanow, author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers, the Great Jazz Guitarists, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76. - Scott Yanow

"Jazz Vocalist, Dena Taylor, returning to studio"

Austin, TX (PRWEB) September 4, 2010

Word is that jazz vocalist, Dena Taylor, will once again be returning to the studio and her musical roots - jazz standards from the American Songbook.

Currently, Taylor is in that mind-boggling process of selecting which song to include. Anyone knowledgeable of the music industry knows that it’s no easy chore and nothing that is done quickly particularly if the artist is as “picky” about her music as is Taylor.

However, this time she is letting her fans become part of that CD by helping her select the songs. Taylor has put a form on her website ( that fans can use to nominate the song they would most like to hear her sing. She’s adding a little “incentive” onto the whole process .. the nominator of any song selected and ultimately appearing on the CD will also be included in the liner notes.

This new CD will also be more upfront about her charitable work. Taylor lost her mother to Alzheimer’s in July of 2010 so not only is she dedicating the CD to her but she’ll be setting aside a percentage of the sales specifically for donation to the Alzheimer’s Association ( in her mother’s name.

Taylor lends her personal support & musical talent to a number of causes that support others who have endured adversity or are in the midst of their challenges and it is a testament to Taylor's talent, however, that her sound never seems "preachy." Rather, the adversity Taylor has faced personally lends her voice a hard, knowing edge - like that of a Gladys Knight at her prime - that gives her music a ripened maturity so many pop stars lack.

Ms. Taylor changed more than just cities with her relocation to Austin, Texas in 2009. Her recent release, Certitude (rel. Mar, 2010), showed strong confidence in both sound and style and that confidence is well founded. Certitude has introduced a new approach and a new life to the music she sings. Says Bree Noble of Women of Substance Radio, “Although Dena has been known for putting her own hip and modern twist on jazz standards in the vein of Ella Fitzgerald, Certitude is a new, mature artistic direction for Taylor.”

The opinion of Rosana Caban, when she reviewed Taylor’s Certitude for was: “Smoky, sexy, soft - the velvety voice of Dena Taylor dominates not just a corner of the room but indeed the entire wall of sound created by the "on" button of the stereo. And her voice on this new CD is the one thing that has not changed .. it's still the same singer who captivated listeners with her 2008 release, Round Midnight.”

Taylor’s return to the American Songbook will thrill long-time fans who have been hoping for another award winning repeat of her first CD, Round Midnight. As Tony Lawson of IMI Sound said, “There are many artists out there doing a splendid job with the great classics of jazz and blues, but the sensitivity, the depth of feeling and the richness of colour that Dena infuses into her performances are in a class of their own. Duly supported by a band of first-class musicians, Dena is that rare combination of outstanding talent and enchanting charisma that one cannot but feel fortunate to come across in the vast world of music.”

This vocalist’s appeal is international. Argentina’s Miquel Montez says, “eres maravillosa.” From Italy’s Daybox Record, Max Mafia comes, “Dena Taylor is without doubt a splendid surprise.” Carol Hayes of Australia’s Shoalhaven Radio said, “It is my pleasure to present Dena to the listening audience of the beautiful South Coast of New South Wales, Australia.” American songwriter, Christopher Morse, says, “You are the real deal--a classic American jazz singer!”

Taylor's road to success has been hard-won, even inspirational. Upon leaving the military, Taylor found herself in a violent car accident that left her with a severe brain injury requiring a full two years to regain her ability to speak and walk again. And, since that time, she has also waged her own personal battle against breast cancer.

Inspite of it all, this vocalist has one of the brightest smiles you could imagine and she uses it frequently. A jovial spirit with a robust laugh is what you will find if you're fortunate enough to spend any time with her. It’s that spirit combined with her talent that has seen her working with notables such as Ron Teixeira, Ron Pirtle, Dave Dunscome, John Fitzgerald, Redd Volkaert and Ernie Durawa to name just a few.

Taylor’s music can be heard on websites:,,, and it can be purchased on: iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby ( and

### - PRWeb

""Song for My Father" Certified International Top 100"

Austin, TX (10/02/10): IAIRA certifies "Song for My Father" as an International Top 100!!

The International Association of Independent Recording Artists, IAIRA, recognizes and honors artistic achievement, technical proficiency, and overall excellence in sound recording by monitoring chart activity as published in various reporting charts from around the world.

According to our research, on 10/02/2010 the above referenced release; Song for My Father, by Dena Taylor, had attained The Number 72 Position on at least one of the charts monitored and verified by IAIRA. On the basis of that research, IAIRA has qualified the aforementioned release as eligible for Certification as an International 'Top 100'.

On behalf of the entire IAIRA staff and the Recording Arts Community at large, please accept our most sincere Congratulations and Best Wishes for your continued success!

"Review of Round Midnight"

In order to give my view on Dena Taylor's album I find myself obliged to start out with one of the greatest interpretations of "Round Midnight" that I have ever heard. The track obliterates those original contorted forms that spring to life from Monk's harmonic requirements and reaches the listener in a very reassuring form, a pleasant "almost pop" sound that puts you in peace with the world and with life in general. The instrumental orchestration is pleasantly classical and the voice leans on every chord with a class and a timbre that brings to mind the voices of some of the great interpreters of jazz. I have chosen "Round Midnight" as my starting point because it is a track to which I am very attached and which Dena Taylor has made me love even more.

I now need to start again from the beginning in order to continue my review and the first track I find on my path is a rendering of "Too Close For Comfort" in which Dena does not let you miss for one moment all those Fitzgerald albums that you have had the courage to listen to in your life as a musician and you feel like you're back in 1956 with the sound of today. Worthy of note is also the latin interpretation of "That Old Black Magic". My ear falls in love again when "Let's Face the Music" starts up in which Dena handles the chord changes with class and simplicity and the whole track is rounded off with some splendid improvisations that show nothing of the over-indulgence that is all too typical of this genre.

Excellent musicians and excellent interpretations of often over-played standards that in this album take on a new life such as "Route 66", completely re-invented and presented to the listener with the mood of a shuffle and the sweetness of a swing (a highly successful operation which makes for very enjoyable listening).

Dena Taylor is without doubt a splendid surprise and the album runs so smoothly that you do not want it to finish. If you are a lover of jazz, jazz standards, warm voices and well-played music, make sure that this album becomes a part of your collection.

Honestly, Max Maffia
Daybox Records
March 17, 2009
- Max Maffia of Daybox Records

"Review of Round Midnight by Michael Kraft (Ditzingen, Germany)"

Dena Taylor and her quartet featuring keyboardist Ron Teixeira, bassist Ron Pirtle, and drummer Dave Dunscombe, arrive in the summer of 2008 with the American Standard songbook in tow. Their new CD, Round Midnight, is named after the haunting Monk ballad whose melody has remained with Taylor throughout her life. Round Midnight features 9 tracks of classic Jazz tunes performed admirably by the aforementioned musicians.

The strong-voiced, yet sweet singing Taylor chose the 9 tracks based on her appreciation of the lyrics and emotional attachment to the melodies. After listening to the CD, there’s no doubt that she’s made each song her own personal statement.

Round Midnight begins with a groovy rendition of ‘Too Close for Comfort’, in which keyboardist Teixeira follows the melody with a nice solo. Dena sings the melody out, and leaves the listener wanting more.

‘That Old Black Magic’ continues with an addictive Latin groove. The bridge ‘brings the swing’, and again Teixeira has a chance to show his improvisational skills with a very supportive rhythm section.

Monk’s ballad is up next to slow things down a bit. Here Taylor’s vocal skills are in full display. She lends some well-timed vibrato and phrasing to the inherent beauty of the melody.

Other tracks you won’t want to miss are ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’ and ‘Our Love is Here to Stay.’ Both tunes feature the rhythm section trading ‘4’s’, demonstrating their intuitive and supportive interplay. The bonus track ‘Route 66’ features guitar and you won’t want to miss the Bossa ‘I’m a Fool to Want You’.

Round Midnight is a collection of timeless American standards that is a perfect traveling companion for a summer journey. Forget the ‘pain at the pump’. Let Dena Taylor’s sultry voice ease your worries and keep you smiling!

- The Jazz Network

"Review of Round Midnight by Tara Isabella Burton"

"Smoky, sexy, soft - the velvety voice of Dena Taylor dominates not just a corner of the room but indeed the entire wall of sound created by the "on" button of the stereo.

The jazz-tinged piano-ballads featured on Round Midnight, a selection from Taylor's latest album, combine a retro melancholy reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holliday with a self-knowing wink and a nod - in all the tracks, particularly "Let's Face the Music and Dance"

It is clear that Taylor combines the power and passion of her deeper melodies - such as "Round Midnight," arguably the sample's best song - with a hip, even modern take on a classic Cole-Porter sound: the happening drumbeat of "Let's Face the Music..." or the slight world-music-sound of "That Old Black Magic" are but two examples of the edge that Taylor brings to the "standard" sound.

But it is Taylor's voice that dominates the sound most. A gorgeous, rich mahogany voice, it is showcased prominently on the album - perhaps too much so, the production can times can feel excessively focused on the vocals, which echo just a nanosecond longer than they need to - and with good reason. Taylor's talent is the real deal - an instrument as powerful as a jazz piano or saxophone in evoking the mournful yet sassy strains of jazz and blues so central to Round Midnight.

Taylor's road to success has been hard-won, even inspirational. After a difficult and traumatic childhood, Taylor spent twelve years abroad in the military, combining her years of service with a series of low-profile concert and event gigs, ultimately choosing marriage over her first record contract - a choice Taylor would later discover led to an unhappy marriage and an unfair postponement of her dreams. Upon leaving the military, Taylor found herself in a tragic car accident that left her with severe brain damage - it took her a full two years for Taylor to regain her powers of speech and motion.

Today, Taylor is following her dream by giving "voices to the voiceless" - a power she was once herself denied and lends her personal support to a number of good causes that support others who have endured adversity.

It is a testament to Taylor's talent, however, that her sound never seems "preachy." Rather, the adversity Taylor has faced lends her voice a hard, knowing edge - like that of a Gladys Knight at her prime- that gives her music a ripened maturity so many pop stars lack.

That she is able to combine this maturity with the infectious and youthful rhythm of songs like "That Old Black Magic" is further proof of her skill as both a performer and a musician." - MyMusicSuccess

"Review of Certitude by Rosana Caban"

Dena Taylor’s Certitude is 11 tracks of unpretentious, well-performed country inspired jazz. The songs are considered standards, but they emanate a rich southern flavor that isn’t often associated with a standard jazz tune.

The album features Redd Volkaert (2009 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance) and drummer Ernie Durawa (Gold Record Drummer of “The Sir Douglas Quintet” and “The Texas Tornados). Both bring a unique perspective to the album, adding to its country influence.

Rather than give us a collection of standards, Dena gives us a cohesive album that flows from one track to the next. She has the experience to know how to please a listener with her voice, which is not unlike Carly Simon, especially in the tracks “I Thought About You” and “The Man I Love”. The simplicity of her performances showcases how control and poise can sometimes resonate stronger than over-the-top vocal performances.

She makes a strong emotional connection in “I Forget You Every Day” and the listener benefits from it. The amount of tremolo on the guitar in “One For My Baby (and One for the Road)” is a bit distracting, but otherwise the album’s production and mixing are incredibly good.

The instrumental performances cannot be ignored. They truly make this album an absolute must-have. In particular, the performance on “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” by Matt Smith on guitar is too good to ignore. The performances on “Teach Me Tonight” are also noteworthy.

Dena features two duets on the album with Redd Volkaert in “Here We Go Again” and Matt Smith in “Teach Me Tonight”. Volkaert and Smith have solid vocal skills, but they’re outshined by their own guitar performances, and by Dena’s stronger, more experienced vocal command.

This album is a wonderful addition to any music library. This will easily be embraced by fans of jazz who wouldn’t mind a bit of country in their lives AND fans of country who wouldn’t mind a little jazz in theirs. - MyMusicSuccess

"Review of Certitude by Daybox Records' Max Maffia"

I'm on my way back from six hours in the recording studio. I'm in the car as usual - exhausted - but happy and full of inspiration. It's time to slip into my iPod headphones and let myself be soothed by the notes that precede the night.

I'm already familiar with the class of Dena Taylor and the warmth of her voice and I've only traveled a few yards when I find myself asking, "What'll I Do?" and letting the slide guitar transport me into unexpected and unknown lands. Narrowing the gap between country music and jazz classics, this highly successful experiment is as elegant as always (just listen to Dena's debut album, Round Midnight, for confirmation).

Only a few minutes have passed by and the night is calm and "the sky's a blackboard high above us" and I ask the sky to "Teach Me Tonight!" A wonderful duet with Matt Smith (voice, guitar, dobro), accompanied by the rhythmic hand of Ernie Durawa.

This sensual episode makes way for the latin "Sway" masterfully performed, forgive me if it's not among my favorite tracks, and I move on instead to an exquisite moment of reflection in "I Forget You Every Day." The track starts up with the line "memory is a gift man can’t live without" and I catch myself thinking just how true that is as Redd Volkaert (2009 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance) on the guitar makes all the difference, helping us to understand that there are "times we can't control the things we think about."

Then, with home looming on the horizon, everything flows into the notes of Gershwin and his marvelous "The Man I Love." Here Dena returns to her great love and you can't help but realize it. I wish my journey would last longer. This track is a masterpiece. I listen to it again and, as I listen, I am more and more convinced that both the night and I "won't say a word."

I'm half way home and happier than I was earlier. It's so hard these days to find something that genuinely transmits strong emotions. I ought to stop and think about it but everything moves on so quickly and you can't get left behind. Even the night has decided to increase its rhythm and I feel that pressing need to get home until "Song for My Father" reminds me that I am in a Mediterranean country and that it will never get cold and that there's no need to rush.

The album moves on smoothly, highlighting the quality of the artist and her musicians. A touching "Send in the Clowns" opens the second part of this album and a dreamy "I Thought About You" takes me through to this "Quiet Night of Quiet Stars". No other song could be a more fitting soundtrack for how I'm feeling right now: "quiet nights and quiet dreams, quiet walks by quiet streams". Then, with a final return to those classics which have somehow touched us all, "One for My Baby (and one for the road)." Rounding off the album, with the same successful line-up of Redd Volkaert and Ernie Durawa used earlier, is "Here We Go Again."

I arrive home with a new desire: to see these musicians live and to live these emotions as I watch them play. As with Dena Taylor's debut album, Round Midnight, this album is definitely not to be missed and the "Certitude" lies in the fact that its wealth of passion transcends even the technical excellence of the musicians involved and that I, in the meantime, can sleep sweet dreams. - Daybox Records

"Today's Indie Artist Suggestion"

Blog - Today's Indie Artist Suggestion: Dena Taylor
03:01 PM on March 05, 2010

This unique jazz performer released her new album "Certitude" this week and we are the first to spin the tracks.

Although Dena has been known for putting her own hip and modern twist on jazz standards in the vein of Ella Fitzgerald, "Certitude" is a new, mature artistic direction for Taylor.

The album is a genre-defying collection of tunes that are sure to appeal to lovers of Country and Latin music as well as fans of her jazz standards.

A complete listen through the album is like taking a Sunday afternoon drive in the country: relaxing and soothing with picturesque scenery, but every once in a while stumbling upon a unexpected delight. Dena Taylor's voice is silky and passion-filled throughout.

Although there are more straight-forward arrangements like "Send In The Clowns", there are surprising takes on standards like a version of "The Man I Love" like you've never heard before. For Country traditionalists, songs like "Here We Go Again" and "I Forget You Everyday" will strike a chord. For our Jazz Show we've chosen two tunes with Latin undercurrents which we think our listeners will enjoy, "Sway" and "Quiet Night Of Quiet Stars". Amongst the Southern inspired standards runs a ribbon of latin and jazz which creates a synergy that words cannot do justice.

Let your ears experience this new style of easy listening jazz standards with a huge helping of country grits and a dash of habanero chile. The whole album can be streamed online and Dena is offering one free song download to all visitors at

Bree Noble - Bree Nobile, Women of Substance Radio

"Taylor goes international on IMIsound"

"Although IMIsound was conceived primarily as a showcase for "Independent Musicians from Italy", it has always held its doors open to artists from all over the world. It was therefore with immense pleasure that we woke up one morning to find that our community had been graced overnight by the presence of Dena Taylor.

There are many artists out there doing a splendid job with the great classics of jazz and blues, but the sensitivity, the depth of feeling and the richness of colour that Dena infuses into her performances are in a class of their own. Duly supported by a band of first-class musicians, Dena is that rare combination of outstanding talent and enchanting charisma that one cannot but feel fortunate to come across in the vast world of music.

As a tribute to Dena and other international artists from various genres who have chosen to embrace the IMIsound project, we have given life to "Radio IMIsound International" - a rotating playlist where we are now showcasing two tracks each from all of our international members including Dena Taylor's magnificent performances of "Round Midnight" and "Route 66". Thank you Dena."

Tony Lawson
IMIsound Founder & Administrator
24th Januray 2009 - Tony Lawson


Still working on that hot first release.



Of Note: 2014 Indie Music Channel's Best Female Jazz Artist of the Year

Based in Austin, TX, Dena Taylor is a jazz vocalist who harkens back to the days of smoke filled clubs and smoky voiced chanteuses. Her sound is solid; without a lot of vocal gymnastics in the Jazz Standards she covers. She inhabits the songs and makes them her own – feeling happiness, anger, joy, sorrow, love and hate. She draws listeners in and allows them to relate to these songs all over again. Dena was named “Best Female Jazz Artist of the Year” by Indie Music Channel in 2014. Her album “The Nearness of You” showcases her vocal talents and reminds us that even though she is a “seasoned” artist singing Standards, these songs don’t lose their ability to move and touch the audience just because they may have fallen out of vogue.

Dena is so full of passion for these songs that her jovial attitude can’t help but be contagious. An engaging personality, Dena wants to share her love of Jazz Standards and the American Songbook with her audience. She has honed her craft over the years – spending 12 years abroad serving her country in the US military and, whenever possible, performing with touring USO shows. Then, upon her return, Dena settled in Florida where she took to the stage as a member of the prestigious Cocoa Village Playhouse “Gold Star” company. She also began to reestablish her solo career and released her cd “Round Midnight” in 2008. With a voice that contains a bit of a knowing edge reminiscent of Gladys Knight in her prime, Dena became a “go to” vocalist for national Jazz and Blues groups touring in Florida.

After relocating to Austin, TX, Dena continued her collaboration with some of the best musicians in the jazz and blues genres including GRAMMY® Award Winners guitarist Redd Volkaert and keyboardist Floyd Domino and Gold Record drummer Ernie Durawa. Volkaert and Durawa both worked on her second album, “Certitude” in 2010. One of the tracks from this effort, “Song for My Father,” was rewarded with an IAIRA Certification of "International Top 100 Hit" shortly after its release.The team worked so well together that Dena chose to work with them for her next record in 2014, “The Nearness of You.” She was subsequently named one of the Top Five Vocalists in the SingersUniverse " Best Vocalist Of The Month" Competition, in addition to the aforementioned IMC 2014 Best Female Jazz Artist of the Year Award.

The path to success hasn’t been an easy one for Dena. In 1999 she suffered a horrific car crash, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. The damage was so severe that it took Dena two years to learn to speak and walk again. She persevered through that and a battle with breast cancer to come out on the other side with an outlook on life that allows her to pursue her music with even more zeal. Learning not to be paralyzed by the fear of what “might happen” has kept Dena moving forward and gives her vocals a ripened maturity that just isn’t found in the pop stars of today.

And, in advance of some serious surgery on her throat, Dena joined forces with Austin powerhouse friends to take a musical walk from her beginnings in country and ending where she most happily lives and that is tucked inside the American Songbook. No last minute throw-together, “You’ve Changed” (scheduled release is January 2016) is a carefully thought out project and, whether it's the last music she records or not .. it will certainly be one of her best.

In a pre-release review, Bree Noble (CEO of Women of Substance Radio) said, “With the opening notes of "You've Changed," it's clear that what has changed is that Dena Taylor has confidently taken the reins of her music career and is making bold, risky decisions that are paying off.”

 Dena continues to share her musical gifts and donates her time to various charities that are close to her heart including her own charity, The Lullaby Project. This charity is supported by the beautiful album, Lullabies, recorded and released in 2015.

Band Members