Paul Taylor is an innovative, inquisitive saxophonist who is constantly pushing the creative envelope of both his instrument and the audience's expectations...no, wait...that's somebody else. Paul Taylor is a cutting edge player who is always surprising in his restless and innovative musical explorations...nope, that's not right. Paul Taylor is a musical chameleon constantly changing his style and approach over the years...nah, that's not it either...
Paul Taylor is a solid performer whom while not a particularly distinctive artist, is reliable, pleasant and listenable. Tenacity, his tenth album (get it?)in 19 years will do nothing to diminish his standing as a contemporary jazz stalwart since he flew solo out of the Keiko Matsui soundfactory and reunites Taylor with Dino Esposito, producer of his debut project, On the Horn (Countdown/1995) Among the high points here are Esposito's programmed, but pretty strings on "Awakening" and "Luxe" is enlivened by the electric piano courtesy of Jeff Lorber, yet while everything is listenable, nothing is essential or remotely unexpected.
Tenacity is fine as it goes for the devotee of the groove where it is the first, the last and the everything in the listener's "must haves." It will more than adequately fill the need until the next man or woman up in the extremely crowded smooth jazz saxophonist field releases their own 2014 album. If it doesn't sound a lot like Tenacity it most likely won't sound all the different either and unless you check the artist's name and the song titles it may seem like an extended version of the same album.
Everything here by Taylor has been already heard on including previous Paul Taylor albums. Taylor might be capable of much more than what he settles for, but if his formulaic, low-risk approach to jazz works for him, why fix what isn't broken?
Track Listing: Supernova; Tenacity; Awakening; Spur of the Moment; Luxe; Peace of Mind; Wicked Games; Open Road; More To Come; Empire
Personnel: Paul Taylor: soprano, tenor, and alto sax, vocals; Jonathan Fritzen: piano (1); Dino Esposito: keyboards, programming, drum programming, vocals; Brian Monroney: guitar, additional programming; Jeff Lorber: electric piano, guitar (5);
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