Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. With a title that says it all, smooth sax superstar Paul Taylor is back on the scene with his fifth CD on Peak Records, the stunning Burnin. This stellar collection of nine original tunes and one well crafted cover finds Taylor, for the fourth album in a row, enlisting the services of Rex Rideout and Barry J. Eastmond to variously add their legendary writing, production and performing skills to an end product that is as good as anything released this year. Rideout is best known for his collaborations with an A-list of contemporary jazz superstars that include Boney James, Larry Carlton and Will Downing while Eastmond has worked with everyone from Britney Spears to Al Jarreau, Phil Perry to Freddie Jackson and Anita Baker to Jonathan Butler. Taylor was totally blown away by the excitement that each of them brought to his 2003 project Steppin Out and not surprisingly brought them back to play a part on his 2005 Nightlife. Their collective contributions to Taylor’s 2007 blockbuster Ladies Choice ensured it was his most soulful to date and with Burnin they are again demonstrating their innate ability to deliver urban jazz that goes the extra mile.
The album is typified by the Rideout – Taylor composition ‘Side Pocket’ which has that strutting feel good vibe that over recent years Taylor has employed to define how great smooth jazz should sound. This same combination returns for the turned down ‘Remember The Love’ where Taylor’s cool alto sax sends shivers down the spine while completely different, but also from the pen of Rideout and Taylor, is the thumping ‘Revival’. It shimmers with gospel tinged backing vocals and is given depth by input from fellow sax-man Gary Meek and trumpeter Ron King. Rideout is back to handle production on Taylor’s funk drenched rendition of the War classic ‘Me And Baby Brother’ whilst that same funkiness is on display with the first of six Eastmond – Taylor cuts, the grooving mid tempo ‘Groove Shack’.
More of the delectable same comes in the form of the strident ‘Juke Joint’ and when Taylor slips into textbook smooth jazz territory the result is the luscious ‘So Fine’. It’s probably only a matter of time before radio is tempted by the big, infectious and totally ‘in the pocket’ ‘It’s Like That’ but the one already tearing up the charts of most played on smooth jazz radio is the sunshine filled title tune. A sensation of rhythm and melody it is sure to monopolize the charts for some time to come but that said the Secret Garden top track is the delightfully retro flavored ‘Back In The Day’. As Taylor’s simmering tenor merges with great vocals from Billy Cliff there is little doubt that this will be one of the songs of the year.
Burnin by Paul Taylor is a revelation from beginning to end. Go out and buy it now. For more go to www.paultaylorsax.com
Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.Posted by Denis Poole at August 28, 2009 5:45 PM