Cynthia Tauro is “excited and ready”, if a bit nervous, as she embarks on her first Ontario / Quebec tour this week. On Wednesday, the tour finally brings her back to Ottawa, for the local release of her new CD.
The jazz pianist and vocalist took her first steps as a professional musician here in Ottawa as part of the local scene. She graduated in 2016 with a degree in jazz piano and voice from Carleton University, and then spent two years playing regularly around town, including being the first woman to host the Jazz Monday jam sessions.
In Ottawa, she “really learned the basics of everything. I got to test out a lot of new things”, playing solo at restaurants like Das Lokal and the Options Jazz Lounge, creating her own band, and being the pianist and backup singer in the pop group The Harea Band. Jazz pianist “Mark Ferguson really helped me with getting my jazz chops down and doing the groundwork for my playing. And then just collaborating with a bunch of musicians, I did that so much.”
She returned to Toronto in July, 2018, and realized she needed to decide “what am I going to do next with my career, with my life, everything? And then just recording an album seemed like the best thing to do and way to go.”
The album, Moments, contains four of her romance-focused originals plus four standards – in “a jazz/Latin feel, I would say, half jazz, half Latin, and then infused with pop.” It was released in March; she said its first single, her original “Dancin' on My Own”, has been played frequently on JAZZ.FM91 and on iTunes Canada.
The album features well-known Toronto jazz musicians Ted Quinlan on guitar, Davide DiRenzo on drums, Perry White on tenor saxophone, Colleen Allen on soprano sax, clarinet and flute, and George Koller on bass. It was produced by Koller, whom Tauro had met when he performed in Ottawa with Laila Biali. They hit it off, and “when I moved back to Toronto, I contacted him and we're like, yes, we should do something together! And that was it.”