The James Taylor Quartet - Anthology of The James Taylor Quartet (Deja Vu Records, 2000)
What’s presented here by The James Taylor Quartet is nothing short of masterful. Seldom does a “best of” or “anthology” collection actually capture the essences and integrity of an artist as done here ... where for all intent and purposes, one could certainly look to this compilation as an album that can stand on its own two feet while smoldering the listener each time it’s played.
Surprisingly The James Taylor Quartet is virtually unknown in America, flying far below the radar, though in the EU, they’ve been bending notes with his Hammond organ led outfit, and presenting their riveting intoxicating mix of acid jazz in a context that is unparalleled to say the least; with Taylor’s crew brewing up fine renditions of funk, soul, and a blend of rock that’s both original, yet captures a retro sound that’s hands down, an awful lot of fun.
Starting out as an organist for a band called The Prisoners, he soon stepped up and formed his own quartet, with the intention of laying down some loose soulful jazz in the spirit of Booker T and The MG’s. And while the foundations of his ideals are still evident, he now sounds more jam oriented ... yet it’s evident that he’s working within a song and theme structure. Those themes include ideas and influences reworked form those brilliant infectious classic television theme songs form the late 60’ and 70’s. Though easily missed, it’s a pleasure hearing the tighter constructed avenues he’s been walking for his later recordings. This is just a brilliant set of songs presented in a manner that’s informative and compelling, spanning some twenty plus years of recorded jazz history that’s not to be overlooked or underestimated when it comes to outstanding contemporary jazz that’s played in a manner that wraps itself around you, holding you steadfast ... because that’s just where you want to be.
Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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