The indie music resonates through the air as the the sound waves bounce off the high ceilings and cement walls all around the coffee shop. This is where the interview will take place, an area surrounded by Mac laptops and college students, who each hold a pen in one hand, coffee in the other. The mood is calm, and the atmosphere very welcoming, a soothing feeling when waiting to meet Kayla Taylor and Steve Moore, the core members of Kayla Taylor Jazz.
As we find our way to a table for three, we begin to make ourselves comfortable.
Taylor and Moore certainly have a bond. There is no doubt that they have known each other for years, and it becomes obvious when speaking with them. They can finish each other’s sentences.
They have been an ensemble for 19 years, beginning a rock band they called “A Fine Line” followed by another named “One Without.” Later on, they decided to experiment with acoustic music in a group known as “The Adventures of Kayla and Steve.” For 10 years now, they have played old-time jazz standards under the alias “Kayla Taylor Jazz.”
“I grew up singing in choirs and ensembles and there was always jazz incorporated into that. Jazz is so glamorous. I fell in love with the era,” Taylor says.
Taylor says that Moore would always play some sort of jazz riff when they were doing sound checks and finally one day she looked at him and told him she wanted to do some jazz standards, and Moore was ready to get started.
It took a lot of dedication and hard work.
“It’s a constant learning process. It’s not like you wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, let’s do jazz,’” Taylor says. “I was a rock singer. I had to get a little bit of my rock out of me. I studied really hard with a vocal coach to integrate me into the jazz,” she says.
Moore always had a passion for jazz. He has been playing guitar since he was 12, and he loves listening to the saxophone, the main instrument his ears tend to focus on when listening to jazz. He was ready for the change.
“With rock, you have your band and you don’t play with anyone else but your band. What is unique about jazz is that is it the complete opposite of that,” Moore says. “Everybody knows these tunes. We could go anywhere in the world, to Japan, and musicians will be able to play these tunes.”
The duo is preparing for their ‘Big, Big Show’ as they like to call it. Last year’s show was recorded live and became their album, which they named, “The Big Big Show.” Now they are back and ready to jazz it up once again at the as part of the .
Both of their parents will be there, and they will be playing with the same musicians that played last year’s show.
“This is the first time we’ve had the same band twice in a row. We are really excited,” Taylor says.
And joining them on stage will be special guest John Harrell, something they have never done before.
“Music is such a blessing,” Taylor says. “I cannot imagine if I was born into this life without any musical abilities. I can’t imagine what that would be like because it is everything that I do and think about.”
Music inspires them and they always try to connect with the crowd.
“We don’t want people to feel like they’re on the outside. We want them to feel like a part of who we are,” Moore says.
They love to interact with the crowd and even bring the young children on stage to sing and dance. Through this interaction, they get kids interested in jazz.
“The beautiful part about it is one song one minute will make you laugh, one song, the next minute, will make you cry. It touches people. It touches us,” Taylor says. “We share their happy moments. We share their sad moments. We all share the wonderful moments of music.”
Come out and celebrate with Kayla Taylor Jazz this Saturday, September 10, at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. show starts at 8 p.m. Free general admission, or reserve a table for $50.