News / Arts & Entertainment

Dennis Taylor's Musical Vision Lives On With 'Steppin' Up'

Dennis Taylor's Musical Vision Lives On With 'Steppin' Up'
Dennis Taylor's Musical Vision Lives On With 'Steppin' Up'

Multimedia

Audio
Doug Levine

One of Nashville’s most respected musicians, saxophonist and composer Dennis Taylor, always dreamed of recording his own album as a bandleader.  That dream came true with his debut set “Steppin’ Up.” But, Dennis never lived to see its much-anticipated release.

The music world lost a giant when Dennis Taylor died of a sudden heart attack at age 56 last October.  Dennis was touring with singer Delbert McClinton, when according to fellow band member Kevin McKendree, his physical condition rapidly deteriorated.

“We were out on the road and we were just leaving Greenville, Texas and he was complaining of indigestion.  And he had also said that his arm had gone numb," McKendree said. "We got to a hospital and gave him some aspirin, and on his way in to the hospital he remarked that he was feeling much better.  But then 15 minutes later he was gone.  It was just like that.”

Dennis mastered the saxophone at a young age.  He studied at several prestigious music schools in Boston, taught improvisational workshops, and eventually joined a band led by blues great Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.  He also toured with Eric Clapton and U2, and after settling down in Nashville, worked with a variety of country music stars.

No one followed his career more closely than his wife Karen Leipziger, who first met Dennis in 1985.  Karen, a noted musician and publicist, says Dennis was playing better than ever, working almost non-stop with some of the best in the business.

“He worked hard at it and working with great players pushes you and it just got deeper," Leipziger said.  "It didn’t really change as much as it just got better and deeper.  He had a pretty eclectic background but it was all kind of rooted in a lot of New Orleans, Texas blues, jazz.  His big heroes were people like Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Stanley Turrentine, Hank Crawford was a big influence, Gene Ammons, people like that.”

“This was the album he wanted to make," she continued. "He was a sideman.  He loved being a sideman.  He never wanted to be a bandleader but he had a vision for this album.  He had been talking about doing an organ trio album for as long as I had known him.  He never talked about another one.  This was the one he wanted to make, and he completed it and he was really proud of it.”

Karen Leipziger served as the executive director on “Steppin’ Up,” with Dennis Taylor’s close friend and collaborator Kevin McKendree playing the Hammond B-3 organ.

Dennis covers tunes by his R&B heroes Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Isaac Hayes and Percy Mayfield, as well as The Beatles and Dr. John.  His rendition of Buddy Johnson’s “Since I Fell For You” features Delbert McClinton on vocals.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”