Steppin’ Up

Dennis Taylor

This wasn’t meant to be a posthumous album; that’s just how it worked out. After years spent performing on other people’s albums, Dennis Taylor finished recording this debut solo shortly before going back out on tour with Delbert McClinton, lending his considerable chops to that estimable soul man’s band. Taylor died, onstage and on that tour, struck down by a heart attack, a trouper to the end. He was only 56, but he died doing what he loved. He shows us the love on this collection of instrumental numbers (except for one guest vocal track featuring the aforementioned and always awesome McClinton). In addition to his chops on sax, Taylor wrote six of the 14 songs here, all chock full of blues and jazz invention. Taylor had impeccable academic music cred, but aficionados will readily recognize that a big chunk of his education came while playing sax in bands like Buckwheat Zydeco’s, or lending funky backup to the late-great Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. Those who like the interplay between sax and Hammond B-3 organ should check out Taylor’s cover of the old Ray Charles number “Hallelujah, I Love Her So.” Talk about steppin’ up and doin’ it for love. Taylor unwittingly wrote his own musical epitaph here. Steppin’ Up provides a proud summation of a life in music.