Personnel: Dougie Bryan, Jeremie "Bim" Dessus, Robbie Shakespeare, Willie Lindo, Bertram "Ranchie" McLean, Dalton Brownie (guitar); Guillaume "Stepper" Briard (melodica, saxophone, organ, keyboards, percussion); Didier Bolay (trumpet, trombone); Nambo Robinson (trombone); Jimmy Zaccardelli, Robbie Lynn (piano); Ansel Collins, Bitty McLean (organ); Steven "Lenky" Marsden (keyboards); Sly Dunbar (drums, percussion); Skully Simms, Sticky Thompson (percussion).
An instrumental reggae treat in an age when there aren't many, Stepper Takes the Taxi finds saxophonist Guillaume "Stepper" Briard jamming and grooving with the legendary Jamaican rhythm section Sly & Robbie. The chemistry is easy and comfortable as the French-born Stepper has long been a member of Sly & Robbie's band Taxi Gang, but his coming-out party still has some tunes to mash up the system, such as "Stepping Revolution" (air-raid sirens blare while the saxophonist responds with sharp, then cool, blasts) and "Imminent Danger" (sounds like '50s sci-fi soundtracks vs. a Lee "Scratch" Perry dub and everyone who loves strange sonics winds up the winner). Familiar rhythms fill the album as some backing tracks from the Sly & Robbie vault are employed, while the temperament is generally smooth and sweet, so those who like their dub more on the wild side might get antsy. French mixing engineer Fabwise handles the final touches, making this a tasteful one to chill and groove with, whenever that Kingston-meets-Paris feel is required. ~ David Jeffries