The hardest thing for any contemporary jazz musician to do these days is to rise above mediocrity in a sea of smooth jazz wannabees, especially as a saxophone player. Paul …
The hardest thing for any contemporary jazz musician to do these days is to rise above mediocrity in a sea of smooth jazz wannabees, especially as a saxophone player. Paul Taylor is one of those rare gems who has been able to accomplish exactly that by making a statement of his own, in spite of the onslaught of other saxophonists. Having paid his dues with such stellar talent as Jeff Lorber and Keiko Matsui, Paul continues to enthrall listeners as a solo musician. As a follow-up to two previous efforts, Paul returns once again with a mesmerizing release entitled "Hynotic" on the Peak record label. Paul Taylor's reputation as a soulful charismatic musician remains intact on this latest CD. With a style that is reminiscent of urban-influenced funk and hip-hop variations, Paul's sound is vibrant and fresh, but he often adds spice with pop-oriented textures that producer Dino Esposito and Jeff Lorber have provided. Never wanting to appear redundant, Paul is always looking to ac!hieve a higher standard of excellence for himself.
Paul Taylor is not a light weight by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, he has more than paid his dues to be a solo musician. Influenced by Grover Washington, Ronnie Laws, David Sanborn and other sax' masters, Paul began his career playing with a garage band called Mixed Company in his native Denver, Colorado. In those days the group played Top 40 and funk, but Paul would later become drawn to contemporary influenced jazz after receiving an opportunity to perform with The Crusaders. Additional exposure led to performances in Las Vegas while a student at the University of Las Vegas studying music performance. During that time in Vegas, he often commuted to Los Angeles to further enhance his skills as an artist. It was there that he met Dino Esposito and Jeff Lorber, which also included a performance at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival and the pairing with Keiko Matsui. He toured with Matsui for two years before embarking on his own.
Paul's alto and soprano saxophone style is hip, sensuous and melodic on "Hypnotic." His music is catchy and is always augmented with a soulful blend of unique melodies. Two tracks in particular "PT Cruiser" and "Tuesday Afternoon" offer a window of opportunity to hear Paul convey his early roots which have continually inspired his brand of music. His harmonic displays coupled with bluesy rhythms, funk-oriented grooves are prominently displayed on such tracks as "Summer Park," "Come Over," "Pacific Palisades" and "Free Fall." Throughout every song on 'Hynotic,' Paul Taylor shows that he is not just another smooth jazz clone. Overall. this CD is the third album that continues to expose and magnify the multi-talented musical character of Paul Taylor. With many more jazz avenues to travel, we may have only caught a glimpse of what he has to offer contemporary/smooth jazz connoisseurs.