Love it or loathe it, smooth jazz is here to stay. Indeed, despite occasionally situating itself in a rather precarious position between the benign and the boring, the last couple of years have seen the release of quality material from the likes of J.K, Gabriela Anders and Boney James to name just a few.
In many ways Paul Taylor’s album could have been modelled upon his fellow saxophonist James’ latest release, Body Language. Consisting almost entirely of mid-to-low-tempo grooves this is also an album to listen to with the lights down low, and which contains a solitary vocal cut featuring a now under-exposed male quartet. Whilst James called upon the services of Shai, Taylor enlists the support of Portrait for the excellent two-step “My Love.” The exquisite vocals of this outfit make it an unmissable track, which in the absence of any recent material may create the uncontrollable urge for you to listen to their classic—at least in my opinion—All that Matters album.
However, far from being just a run-of-the-mill one track album whose highlight will turn up on one of those exceptionally good Jazz fm compilations—see www.jazzfm.com—this collection is strong throughout. Other highlights, also like James’ set, include an inspired cover of a Janet Jackson track. In this case Taylor “smooths” out “Velvet Rope” to great effect. In addition to this we also have two mid-tempo gems in the shape of “Alone with You” and “Indigo,” the groovy “Avenue” (also produced by Portrait), and the downlow “Looking Glass.”
Ordinarily, the presence of only one vocal track would cause me to be somewhat wary of purchasing this album. However, by keeping it relatively short and sweet—there are only 10 tracks—this CD never gets the chance to become tiresome. Smooth jazz may not command the respect of its more traditional counterparts but one cannot deny its seductive appeal. All in all, a quality smooth jazz album.