Fresh off a regional "best instrumentalist" award, sax virtuoso Mark Taylor returned to bandleader efforts with 2009's Spectre, a romp through a fair set of originals. Most compositions here come directly from Taylor's pen, but there are a few additional items -- two contributions from pianist Gary Fukushima and one from bassist Jeff Johnson, and one entry from Jim Knapp, a big-band leader with whom Taylor had been keeping busy over the course of a couple of albums. The mood is relaxed here, with the players showing their formidable skills but never showing off their formidable skills. Taylor holds up an excellent front on the sax, alternately exploring the ranges (as in the brief "Lucid") and crooning (as in "Fleeting"). Fukushima twinkles in the opening track, makes ethereal Fender Rhodes movements in the second track, and scrambles frenetically in the excellent "Persiflage." All that, and he comps in the background ably throughout the album. Jeff Johnson provides a strong bass foundation and some surprising solos, as is his common way with albums, and drummer Byron Vannoy makes himself noticed only in his strong solos, or in the startling nature of his careful absences (as during Fukushima's solo in "Persiflage"). It's an adventurous album, with both new and old ideas floating around and mingling with one another. The players provide exceptional views into the heart of the compositions, and one simply can't go wrong with the energy and virtuosity of "Persiflage."