Mark Taylor: Spectre (2009)
Taylor's cutting soprano tone leads the way for much of the disc, especially on the bright, spirited title track and the loose funk of "Fleeting." The leader solos with overflowing confidence, allowing a steady stream of edgy, yet swinging ideas. Tunes such as "Maia" and Johnson's "The Art of Falling" reveal a mature improviser who prefers restrained lyricism over excess.
In between lengthy compositions are shorter improvised interludes that give the disc a continuous flow. Tantalizing spurts of energy such as "Opaque" and "Lucid" deconstruct various elements of one piece while setting up the next. A fine example of this is the rambunctious duet between Taylor and Vannoy, and exposed piano romp by Fukushima, on "Persiflage," acting as a tense buildup to the rather serene "The Ruse of the Muse."
Fukushima's exuberant playing on both piano and Fender Rhodes adds a fresh perspective to this vibrant session full of stand-out performances and unique compositions.
Track Listing: Spectre; Opaque; Fleeting; Lucid; Fomepi; Persiflage; The Ruse of the Muse; Maia; Gugodju; The Art of Falling; Second Thoughts; First Among Equals.
Personnel: Mark Taylor: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Gary Fukushima: piano, Fender Rhodes; Jeff Johnson: bass; Byron Vannoy: drums.
Record Label: Origin Records
Style: Modern Jazz