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Paul Taylor — Countdown

Oct. 10, 2016

With his trusted collaborator, writer/producer Dino Esposito, by his side, smooth saxman Paul Taylor again puts forth his brand of silky. Melodic c-jazz as only he can with his 10th solo release Countdown.  Melody and this guy go hand-in-hand and always have since his paul-taylor-countdown-cd1995 On The Run debut and his years with pianist/keyboardist extraordinaire Keiko Matsui. After collaborations with the likes of sexy saxtress Jessy J, the rockin’ iconic Canadian saxman Warren Hill, and one of the true veterans of romantic smooth jazz sax Marion Meadows, Taylor is back with another solo shot that will surely be heard around the jazz world.

Kicking it all off with his signature style and sound on the album’s title track, Taylor never raises his foot off the gas here, offering delicacy after delicacy (including what has to be my favorite here, “What You Love’” a sultry romantic sizzler whose title says it all as you take in its ethereal beauty). You get a similar vibe when experiencing the quiet heat of “The Hills.” Another of my faves along with the finale – the grippingly sweet “Crossroads.“

So much more is contained in this firecracker package of charm. There are simply too many riveting tracks to single out — tracks like the mid-tempo “Arrival,” “Knocking At Your Door,” and the cool, driving “Roundup” (another of my faves) — which starts off deceptively slow-paced and easy, then explodes into a kaleidoscope of up-tempo and colorful rhythm…and that’s just for starters.

Always spot on and offering the best he’s got, Taylor does not disappoint here one bit. If you’re already a fan, you know what to expect. If not, climb aboard the Paul Taylor train and familiarize yourself with some solid in-the-pocket examples of how melody is to be caressed and nurtured. Yeah, Countdown will take you there — Ronald Jackson