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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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1. Blow Up
2. One Mint Julep
3. Be My Lady
4. Mission Impossible
5. Goldfinger
6. The Cat
7. Mrs Robinson
8. Alfie’s Theme
9. The Stooge
10. The Money Spyder
11. One Way Street
12. Car Chase
13. The Spiral Staircase
14. Mr Cool's Dream
15. Untitled 1
16. A Real Mean Time
17. The Onion Club
18. The Stroll
19. Los Cuevos Pablo
20. Midnight Stomp (The New Rhumba)
21. Buzy Bee
22. In the Park
23. Untitled 2

James Taylor – Hammond organ, piano, harpsichord
David Taylor – Guitar
Allan Crockford – bass
Simon "Wolf" Howard - Drums

James Taylor is confusing. He not only has the same name as a famous singer (who was married to Carly Simon) but his quartet has often been advertised as a jazz ensemble. This album suggests that this description is wide of the mark. Certainly his group comes into the mysterious category of "acid jazz" but, as that has always been a vague term, it doesn’t mean a lot.

This album actually transports the listener back to the 1960s, with that characteristic boogaloo rhythm, the rather desperate drum fills and the clanging Shadows-type guitar. In fact this music was recorded in 1987, when the JTQ debuted with a somewhat old-fashioned sound. Several tracks sound like soundtracks for films about swinging London – indeed, several of them are film themes, like Goldfinger and Mrs Robinson.

It’s pop music with hints of jazz, mostly from James’s Hammond organ. But it would be impossible to bracket James Taylor with such masterly jazz organists as Jimmy Smith or Jack McDuff. The style is nearer the danceable pop music of Booker T and the MGs, whose organ-led funk was popular in the sixties and seventies – and had no pretensions to being jazz. At best it could be called jazz-funk.

Now James Taylor has moved on with a jazzier group. See our next review, of an album by James’s 4th Dimension.

Tony Augarde


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