Over 25 years into a stellar, multi-faceted career that’s found him continually pushing the sonic boundaries of what’s possible in contemporary urban jazz, saxophonist Paul Taylor brings us his twelfth highly-anticipated new recording AND NOW THIS on Peak Records.
AND NOW THIS, fully created via the exchange of digital files between the Las Vegas based Taylor and his longtime musical compadre, collaborator, co-writer and producer Dino Esposito, features the saxman’s ongoing exploration of an expansive range of dynamic danceable grooves and intricate pop/electronica vibes. The ten tracks fully reflect the way Taylor began moving forward in his personal and creative life, as if to say, in his words, “we’re coming out of the pandemic, this is what I’ve been creating, we’re kicking it back into high gear and we are more open-minded in our approach to music than ever.”
During the course of his storied career, the Denver native has headlined hundreds of shows and has been part of numerous all-star tours – including dates with Peter White and Euge Groove in a lineup affectionately dubbed “Peter, Paul and Euge;” Gentleman of the Night (with Marion Meadows and Warren Hill). He has also performed with The Rippingtons and the acclaimed “Groovin’ For Grover” tour. Some of his first post-pandemic lockdown shows have been with labelmate Michael Lington and Sax to the Max with Michael and Vincent Ingala.
Long a mainstay among the most popular and elite artists, Taylor has been on one of the most exhilarating upswings of his career over the past seven years, starting with Ladies’ Choice (2007), which marked his first ever #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz. “Burnin’,” the title track from his 2009 album, hit #1 on the airplay charts, and “Push To Start” from Prime Time (2011), hit the pole position on the Smooth Jazz Songs chart. Prime Time further lived up to its colorful name by reaching the Top Ten on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.
Over the past few years, Taylor has also been part of two of the genre’s biggest summer tours, Gentlemen of the Night (with Marion Meadows and Warren Hill) and Sax and the City (with Meadows and Vincent Ingala). In December 2012, the longtime basketball enthusiast achieved another longtime dream, performing the National Anthem in Madison Square Garden at a New York Knicks game; their coach Mike Woodson is a longtime fan.
Though the Denver native has lived and worked primarily in Las Vegas since graduating as a music performance major from UNLV, the proximity of his adopted hometown to Los Angeles gave him many opportunities to vibe with R&B and contemporary jazz producers and artists, including Esposito, whom he first met in the late 80s. Taylor played one of Esposito’s sessions at Jeff Lorber’s home studio; a few years later, in 1994, the keyboardist remembered Taylor and asked him to play with him at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival.
Another popular keyboard player, Keiko Matsui, and her producer/husband Kazu liked Taylor’s charismatic performance and soon offered him an audition with their band. He recorded and toured with the Matsuis for two years (appearing on Sapphire and Dream Walk), and Kazu Matsui eventually co-produced On The Horn, which spawned the #1 radio hit “Till We Meet Again.” Taylor’s mix of funk and sensuality were a natural fit for the emerging urban jazz genre, and he soon became one of its core artists. Although Taylor has since been one of the genre’s most popular live attractions as a solo artist, he eagerly accepted Russ Freeman’s invitation to tour with The Rippingtons as a special guest artist in 2000—the year he released his third album Undercover–after Jeff Kashiwa left the group. He later toured as a featured performer with the all-star “Groovin’ For Grover” lineup (including Lorber, Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright) and performed and made his acting debut on the legendary ABC soap opera “One Life To Live.”
Taylor remains a fresh and vital, forward thinking force in contemporary urban jazz. Talent and vision are a given, but sometimes those things fade. It’s his Tenacity that’s made the difference.