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Sam Taylor: My Future Just Passed

Dan McClenaghan By

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One spin of saxophonist Sam Taylor's debut CD, My Future Just Passed, and it's not hard to tell where he's coming from, influence-wise. He's a traditionalist with a muscular sound, and you hear Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and bringing things forward in time, perhaps Dexter Gordon, and on this particular trio affair at hand, Sonny Rollins certainly comes to mind in terms of concept. Hawkins and Webster for their rich, robust tones; Gordon for his blowing power, and Sonny Rollins because this is a trio set—no chording instrument in the mix—that very much brings the classic Blue Note Records set, A Night at the Village Vanguard (1958), featuring (mostly) bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Elvin Jones backing the Saxophone Colossus.

With bassist Aiden O'Donnell and drummer Taro Okomoto, Taylor explores some of the lesser-played American Songbook gems: the title tune, "Love Me Or Leave Me," "She's Funny That Way," Rodgers and Harts' "You Are Too Beautiful," along with Thelonious Monk's "Eronel" and Sonny Rollins' (there's that name again) "Why Don't I." Taylor plays with a grace and beautiful deliberation, and it sounds as if he knows the lyrics to these tunes that unfold like good short stories. His trio mates—especially on the more up-tempo tunes—play it with a loose, ramshackle elan, giving the set a spontaneous feel, giving the leader lots of room to roam free with the melodies.

Taylor adds a couple of his own tunes to the batch of standards. "Do Something" is a beautiful late night ballad, sparely accompanied, and "T.O.'s Blues," the set's closer bumps and rumbles and rolls, a raw and Rollins-esque wrap up to a fine debut.

Track Listing: Love Me Or Leave Me; My Future Just Passed; Do Something; She's Funny That Way; Why Don't I; Mean To Me; Eronel; You Are Too Beautiful; T.O.'s Blues.

Personnel: Sam Taylor: tenor saxophone; Aidan O'Donnell: bass; Taro Okamoto: drums.

Title: My Future Just Passed | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Cellar Live

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