The Smooth Operators - Thoughts and Comments
By Don Doman
May 22, 2008 saw Ed and me traveling to Seattle to see the Bobby Caldwell show. As we drove to Jazz Alley, we talked about a new CD featuring some of The Smooth Operators as well as new songs by Ed and three covers. I suggested the Etta James classic At Last. We were going to Seattle because the new Saxophone player for Bobby Caldwell, Patrick Lamb, had been recommended as a potential Smooth Operator. Also, Ed thought that Bobby Caldwell himself might be a great addition.
Once we arrived at Jazz Alley we took a table, which was a comfortable fifteen feet from the stage. An older couple sat at the table next to us and introduced themselves. They had driven from Pullman (all the way across the state and perhaps a six hour drive) to take in the jazz performance. When Ed introduced himself to the husband. The husband recognized the name and announced to his wife, "This is Ed Taylor. We heard him on the radio." They heard him on their favorite jazz radio station.
The show began almost on time. Bobby travels with a great group of performers. There was a keyboard player, a female back-up singer, a guitar player/singer, the drummer, and a bass player in addition to Patrick Lamb on sax and Bobby on keyboard, Melodica, and electric guitar.
Most of the crowd mouthed the lyrics as Bobby sang. This was the first show of Bobby's performance in Seattle, but it was mid-week. Towards the back of the room there were a few empty tables, but not that many in the 350 seat venue. Bobby is still popular here in the states nearly thirty years after his first hit, What You Won't do for Love, but he is a legend in Japan. Bobby had a nice an easy manner on stage talking to and kidding with the audience. He told how he was shopping in a grocery store, when he first heard one of his records being played. It was being played over the PA system. He shouted, "That's me. I'm in produce." It reminded me of the first time I saw one of my own productions broadcast outside local cable. My wife, Peg and I had shot a documentary about the first hockey tournament ever in Hawaii. It was shown on Hockey Night in Canada twenty some years ago. As it played on the air, Peg did a half dance-half march across the room. I can still see it. It is a favorite memory. We weren't in produce, but we were in clover.
Bobby and the band performed for over an hour and a half. At one point he recognized a couple in the audience who had asked for a special number to celebrate their anniversary. He confessed he didn't have time to pull that together, but he then performed a "big band" style number just for them. It was Don't Worry About Me. What a wonderful gift for the couple. If Bobby had been wearing a Tuxedo, it could have been Frank Sinatra himself performing for the anniversary couple.
Bobby was able to take one break as Patrick stepped forward and took a solo on Saxophone that was truly wonderful. The last time I heard a live Sax that I admired as much was by Clarence Clemmons playing with Bruce Sprinsteen. I'm an old baritone Saxophone player and I love the soulful and joyful sounds of the Sax. Patrick did a great job. He had the audience eating out of his hand. He just signed with Bobby for his latest tour, which has to be a success.
The last song in the set was the classic At Last. The song that I had recommended to Ed on the way to Seattle. I've never heard it played better. With Bobby's group he gave everyone a turn at shining on that song. Wonderful.
I am starting to develop relationships with musicians that build a coalition of sorts to allow us to be seen by large audiences and to share the success with others. Recently I've played with The Smooth Operators which includes Ed Taylor on guitar and Patrick Lamb of saxophone. That concert was really successful because it included the strengths of three excellent front men.
-- Darren Motamedy, Jazz Profle
Smooth jazz icon Peter White has never been slow in recognizing the emergence of new talent within the genre. His collaborations with the likes of Roger Smith and Allon Sams perfectly exemplify the significant support that he generously provides and now, with another standout guest appearance, he is back to add weight to the brand new release from jazz guitarist Ed Taylor. Although ‘Songs From A Taylor’ is his first smooth jazz CD, and only his third in all, Ed Taylor is no newcomer to the scene. From Motown session guitarist to opening act for Bachman Turner Overdrive and with more club appearances in the last forty years than even he can remember Taylor is the consummate professional. Growing up in Los Angeles he was influenced by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and by George Benson who inspired him to take up the guitar at age 13. Equally comfortable when playing funk, soul music or jazz this new foray into contemporary jazz seems a natural progression and the eight original tunes plus three choice covers that ‘Songs From A Taylor’ provide have enough going on to really get him noticed.
-- Denis Poole, Smooth Jazz Therapy (www.smoothjazztherapy.com)
(Ed Taylor) . . . you've got great energy. Thank you for your kindness on your website. Looks like a great thing you're
putting together and would love to be a part of it ... cheers
-- Patrick Lamb
Like his inspirations, Taylor lays down a bevy of notes on his electric guitar in an organic production that refreshingly sounds like it comes straight from a basement studio into your living room. Credit Taylor for giving ample room for his Ed Taylor Band— Dennis Blackmon on keys, Kevin England on trumpet and flugelhorn, Willy Fisher on drums and John Roberts on bass—to spread their wings. Relaxed, funky, bluesy and ’60s cool, TaylorMade is an ode to talented guitarists playing in small clubs everywhere.
-- Brian Soergel - Jazz Times Magazine
Ed Taylor is the realist of real things in Tacoma regarding jazz .
-- Ron Swarner - The Volcano
Former Motown session guitarist Ed Taylor has released a sweet collection of Smooth Jazz tunes that are cool and breezy. . . Put a little Northwest jazz in your music collection and pick up Taylor Made by Ed Taylor.
-- Sandy Shore - SmoothJazz.com
My wife and I got maximum enjoyment from your music . . . at Stadium Bistro. I will now be looking to hear you (Ed Taylor) play whenever I can and also collect your CD's. Thanks for the fantastic music and your pleasing personality.
-- Art Woods
(Ed Taylor) I didn't realize I was talking to a legend.
The Smooth Operators are available through TayEd Productions (Michelle Taylor & Don Doman Principals). Call 253-759-6639 to book a performance or a tour or write firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The Smooth Operators
4701 North Huson
Tacoma, WA 98407