Cover Story

Far from being Undercover, the distinctive Paul Taylor has many irons in the fire, from his own sax line to an animation project. His latest disc, Ladies’ Choice, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart

By Preston Turegano

Las Vegas-based saxophonist Paul Taylor wants smooth jazz devotees to know he’s alive and well and that his career has not been sidetracked, contrary to gossip and perceptions about the 47-year-old artist.

"I’ve been aware some people have been saying I got sidetracked, but I disagree," Taylor said ebulliently during a telephone interview from his home––his third Q&A with a writer that day. "I think the reason they said that is because after my first couple of records there was like a three-year gap between two of them. Then, I had to go to a new record label. After that, I started playing with the Rippingtons, but I still had the Undercover CD simultaneously with that. I thought I was kind of keeping things going."

Taylor is absolutely on the go. In its debut, Taylor’s latest album, Ladies’ Choice, made it to the No. 1 spot in Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart the first week of June. That same week, he came to San Diego to sign copies of Ladies’ Choice at the Mission Valley Borders Books and Music. In July, Taylor headlined at the 12th Annual JazzFest West (formerly the Old Pasadena JazzFest) in San Dimas’ Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park. On Sept. 23, Taylor appears at the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater for Smooth Jazz 98.1’s Jazz at the Beach concert series.

Joining Taylor on tour this summer will be band members K.T. Tyler (bass), Ray Mouton (guitar), Boy Katindig (keyboard) and Tarell Martin (drums).

If Taylor’s schedule isn’t busy or on-track enough for skeptics, consider this: Taylor is working with a Taiwanese company on the production of "The Paul Taylor Alto Sax"––his own signed line of saxophones.

"I’m excited about that," Taylor said. "Each is hand-made. I want to do it the right way so people can have a really good horn."

Taylor’s other project in the works is animation he’s creating on a laptop computer. His inspiration has been a friend who created animation that goes with each song on rapper
Snoop Dogg’s latest CD. Taylor is hoping to incorporate his own lifelong love of comic book heroes (evident in his collection of Marvel and DC comic books and action figures that go back to the late ‘50s and early ‘60s) into his animation...

The complete story can be found in the August edition of Smooth Jazz News.Click here to subscribe today. Receive 11 editions of Smooth Jazz News per year, mailed monthly (February through December), for $35.