Ori Dagan jazzes up life in a 21st-century hashtag world on his timely new album Click Right Here — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Cleverly combining old-school arrangements and instrumentation with topical, sharp-witted lyrics about our love/hate relationship with today’s technological headaches and heartaches, the Toronto jazz maven delivers an ambitiously original disc that is simultaneously nostalgic and of the moment — not to mention engaging and entertaining.
“I had never heard a jazz album like this, which made the process of writing it both challenging and rewarding,” Dagan says. “From social media to online dating, pocket dialing to identity theft, in the past quarter of a century the way we live our lives in the Western World has drastically changed, and it was really meaningful to be able to reflect on these changes.
“Even though Click Right Here is my fourth studio album, it represents a lot of firsts for me,” he elaborates. “Thanks to my first FACTOR recording grant, for the first time in my career I was able to record with an eight-piece band featuring a four-piece horn section, a dream come true for just about any jazz singer inspired by the swing era.
“Maybe the most important first is that all the songs on this recording are original. I have been singing jazz standards and swinging pop songs for over 20 years, and I love doing that, but honestly singing my own songs feels like a completely different art form; this project has inspired in me an immense respect for the craft of songwriting and for the courage to share one’s own songs.”
Joined by the assistance of his exceptionally talented group of musicians — guitarist Nathan Hiltz, pianist Attila Fias, bassist Alex Bellegarde, drummer Ben Wittman, alto sax player Alison Young, tenor player Colleen Allen, trombonist William Carn and trumpeter Andrew McAnsh — and graced with arrangement by Rebecca Hennessy, Dagan seamlessly transitions from an old-school crooner into a singer-songwriter. “It took a pandemic to make this happen, but I am so glad that Click Right Here is finally here,” he says.
Taking his inspiration from Ella Fitzgerald, Lester Young and Sheila Jordan (a heroine he duetted with in 2017), Dagan’s catalogue includes S’Cat Got My Tongue (2009) and Less Than Three <3 (2012). In 2017, with the support of over 200 crowdfunding contributors, he created the visual album Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole, a first of its kind in the genre that garnered him invitations to headline around the world, won critical acclaim and recognition at film festivals worldwide, as well as a showcase at SXSW.