Personnel: Paul Taylor (soprano saxophone & alto saxophone); Oji (various instruments, programming); Brian Monroney (guitar); Scot Rammer, Dino Esposito (programming); Shelina Wade (background vocals).
Producers: Dino Esposito, Scot Rammer, Oji.
Engineers: Dino Esposito, Scot Rammer, Ray Taylor.
Recorded at The Compound, Las Vegas, Nevada and Adwin's Studios, Hollywood, California.
From his swaying and suggestive onstage body movement to conceptualizing the electro-psychedelic cover art for his latest album Pleasure Seeker (Countdown/Unity), saxman Paul Taylor seems determined to captivate us visually. For his breakthrough hit On the Horn, Taylor gathered some of his existing tunes and sought the production direction of Kazu Matsui; on Pleasure Seeker, Taylor chose a more collaborative approach. For the most part, he started composing the tunes from scratch with the new production team of Dino Esposito (an old college chum of Taylor's) and Scot Rammer. While Taylor's strong sense of melody and lyrical approach to his instrument has been in place since the first project, his new producers give him a unique, atmospheric sonic playground unlike any other heard on smooth jazz radio'part industrial percussion (as on the echoing simulated metal pipe taps on the opener, "Groove Zone"), part electronic new age hypnotism (the dreamy shuffling on the moody "Looking for Eve" recall David Lanz & Paul Speer's classics), and, more to the modern point, modern hip hop meets a dash of stylish 70's soul (including a Fender Rhodes sound on lively funk-based "Thrive"). Taylor also wraps his loose, fluid soprano sound (which ring of the Grover Washington influence) around a wide variety of bass dynamics; the mid-tempo ballad "Raw Sugar" features jungle soundscaping and basslines that croak like a happy frog, while the bass rhythms on "Twilight Ride" are subdued and barely audible, leading to another round of gentle hypnosis. ~ Jonathan Widran