JAMES TAYLOR QUARTET
Man In The Hot Seat (Audio Network)
James Taylor does a fine job of bringing the musical styles of Quincy Jones and John Barry back to life in Man In The Hot Seat, with 10 compositions that see his usual quartet expanded by a full orchestral big band. Taylor has bravely taken on all the orchestration – writing all the instrumental parts, not just the tunes themselves – building on the skills he learned for 2020’s People Get Ready.
But Man In The Hot Seat, recorded with amazing clarity at Abbey Road, is a more satisfying, convincing blend of JTQ’s acid jazz roots and the predominant influence of ‘70s soundtracks than his last album – since which Taylor has battled with personal issues including the effects of long Covid. The only possible signs that this album was created under difficult conditions are the nailed-down, hard-hitting grooves and aggressive horns. Elsewhere, it’s a playful slice of slick big-band jazz that offers as much style as substance.
words JOHN-PAUL DAVIES
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