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 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.”
From the atmospheric soul and fast paced funk of the title track (featuring the guitar of Brian Monroney) through the sultry flow of the closing track “Good Night,” And Now This also celebrates the decades long friendship and intuitive, forward thinking musical chemistry between Taylor and Esposito. Their dynamic history dates back to when they played in the same band as students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas – and includes Taylor touring in Esposito’s band when he was a pop star in the late 80s touring with New Kids on the Block. Esposito has been Taylor’s chief sonic co-architect since the saxophonist’s 1995 debut On The Horn and subsequently collaborated on Pleasure Seeker (1997), Undercover (2000), his Peak Records debut Hypnotic (2001), Nightlife (2005), Prime Time (2011), Tenacity (2014) and Countdown (2016).
While for some artists, song titles on instrumental urban jazz releases are merely clever sounding afterthoughts, the names of each track on AND NOW THIS represent the feeling and intention of the music. With its funked out grooves and swirling sax notes in the hook, “Friday@5” is all about that moment when we clock out, make our weekend plans and have the freedom to, as Taylor says, “chill and relax or take a drive along the coast.” Likewise, “The Face of You” represents a new facet of the saxman’s ever-deeper artistry, an immersion into an urban exotica landscape and hypno-cool synth textured atmosphere with his ever-present soaring soprano. Next is “Epic Dream,” a groove of soundscape effects and soaring atmospheres that’s pure dreamy escapist.
Officially entering his second quarter century of recording, with AND NOW THIS, Taylor is as excited as ever to continue casting his creative aim higher and grateful for every opportunity to bring his best to his loyal legion of longtime and newer fans. “What I like most about the new album is its freshness, and the fact that after 25 years, Dino and I still have so many unique avenues to explore,” he says. “It’s a special album created in unusual, highly stressful times. There’s something to be said for all of us artists persevering through the shutdown of 2020 and finding a way to get it done. And we did -- AND NOW THIS!”