Saxophonist Paul Taylor became interested in music at the age of seven, but it was not until he joined a local high school band that he decided to make it a career. He is perhaps best known for his signature smooth jazz vibe and instantly recognizable sound. There is a common thread of romance on all of his songs that enraptures the listener. A fixture in the smooth jazz community, he has recorded with many artists including pianist Keiko Matsui, guitarist Craig Chaquico, keyboardist Russ Freeman, Steve Oliver, and The Rippingtons. He has teamed up again with producers Barry Eastmond and Rex Rideout for Ladies' Choice (Peak Records, 2007), which is certain to follow along the lines of his already attained success.
All About Jazz: Who were your greatest musical influences? When did you become inspired to play the saxophone?
Paul Taylor: When I first started playing music with my younger brother. My parents had gotten us into music to keep us off the streets and out of trouble, so it didn't really happen until high school. I started listening to The Crusaders, David Sanborn, Grover Washington and, of course, I loved Earth, Wind & Fire. Those influences really kind of got me going.
AAJ: So that inspired you to become interested in jazz and make that transition?
PT: In high school my classmates started to form bands and I loved being in those bands, we started playing around town and I liked doing that.
AAJ: Ladies' Choice (Peak, 2007) is obviously dedicated to your female fans. What led you to record this album now?
PT: The inspiration was just kind of born in the studio. The first person I wrote with was with one of the producers, Barry Eastmond. I think that "Ladies' Choice was one of the first songs that we wrote together in the studio. After we wrote it, I just kind of took a step back and listened to it and it had like a house party vibe or like a club vibe from back in the day, when the music was great and then the DJ stops the music and says, "This song is ladies' choice, and then the best song came on. That is what basically gave me the inspiration. So when I submitted that to the record company we just kind of took that and it had a life of its own and that is how it came out.
AAJ: Did you anticipate working with singers like Regina Belle and La Toya London at the onset?
PT: I went to the whole process with an open slate with nothing really prepared. I just write it as I go because it is fun to see how it takes different turns, so I had no idea that I would be performing with these great singers. After we did that first song, then the wheels started turning and we made moves with the vocalists. I am so happy to have the vocals that are on the record.
AAJ: You have said that these ladies, Regina and La Toya, took your music to a whole new level.
PT: Oh no doubt. Usually I will have one vocal on my CD, and with this album we had four vocal songs. So that kind of takes it to a new place, with maybe a little wider audience; a little Urban/Adult Contemporary action. I welcome that sound right now for my seventh CD, you know, why not? It still had the smooth jazz sound on it that is where we wanted to go with it.
AAJ: Right, especially with so many genres that seem to be evolving into hybrids. You worked with some very talented producers on this album.
PT: No doubt; with Barry Eastmond and Rex Rideout, we had been fortunate to have worked together on the previous two CDs, so we have a really good history together, we have some really great inspiration and we write great songs together. So like the saying goes; if it's not broke, don't fix it.
AAJ: That is so true. You are known for your romantic, smooth jazz spin on your songs. This album Ladies' Choice is right in line with that, and paying homage to the female fans that listen to your music.
PT: Oh yeah, I'm gladthat is so cool that you picked up on that.
AAJ: You like to invite a few women on stage at each show so I'm sure that the female fans will love the opportunity, while you are out promoting this album.
PT: Oh yeah, that is good to know.