James Taylor Quartet
Performing: The James Taylor Quartet
Doors Open: 7:30PM
More Information about James Taylor Quartet Tickets
The JTQ have been blending a very wide array of musical influences since their first 45 was recorded in September 1986. The tune was a punky reworking of Herbie Hancock's soundtrack to the then cult movie 'Blow Up'. As James explains; 'The soundtrack to the Blow Up film was lent to me by Bruce Brand from The Milkshakes with a view to covering The Yardbird's classic 'Train Kept A-Rollin, in our 'Aunty Vegetable ensemble' but I was captured by the Main Title Theme far more.
I saw this piece as perfect for an idea I had been developing for some time whereby I put a band together that focussed on the much maligned Hammond C3 organ as the centre piece for it's sound. I had been using the hammond for five years in The Prisoners since first hearing Booker T's 'Green Onions' as a teenager and being blown away.
However, I was getting increasingly frustrated by the restrictions of operating from a rock perspective where the audience stood facing the stage and got blasted. The cinematic overtones of the hammond sound excited me and I was wanting to explore more stripped down instrumental music.
My vision of the band was that it could be 'the band in the corner' of a club/party sequence in any 60's or 70's film. We would provide a high energy musical backdrop to a night out but not be the central focus. I wanted to avoid stages and PA systems. For me, then, and still now, the coming together of people was the focus.
The legendary DJ John Peel championed our sound on his BBC Radio One show, he gave us lots of airplay and the single became an independent hit launching the band into immediate success.
The reality of performing as 'the band in the corner' was not, however, to be easily realised as all the live shows were selling out and the subsequent rise in the pulling power of JTQ meant that the band were indeed on big stages with big PA's facing and blasting audiences.
In this respect the band in its early career was largely misunderstood and was blown along by a kind of unstoppable force. I had no idea that a hammond instrumental band would attract anybody other than me and a few of my mates.
We were really taken aback by the impact that our sound was having. We released two albums on a small indie label in 1987 and then signed to a major in 1988. We flirted with commercial success over the next few years and achieved hit singles, albums and large record sales worldwide. A version of 'The Theme from Starsky and Hutch' kicked this commercial period off and it culminated in hit albums 'Supernatural Feeling' and 'In the Hand Of The Inevitable'.
This commercial period was fun but ultimately unsatisfying musically as the sound had a more vocal theme and I decided to steer the band back into its organic instrumental roots.
Despite the subsequent manoeuvre away from commercial recordings, from a live perspective things continued to develop as the band headlined jazz festivals round the world and sold out the Brixton Academy at the end of nine months continuous touring in December 1993.
Around this time we started regularly playing The Jazz Cafe in Camden Town. This venue was to become something of a home for the band and over the next seventeen years we clocked up a massive 163 sold out shows there.
Having a venue that we felt comfortable in enabled us to develop our recorded sound and our stage show further. The focus in my mind was still on the audience and we found various ways of bringing the people attending our shows into the centre of the action. The band/audience interplay is still at the core of the JTQ live experience today.
The James Taylor Quartet are now highly respected as an important and innovative established act which has carved out a unique place for itself in music. We tour hard and have gained a huge amount of experience having played 1000's of shows around the world over a 23 year period.
We pride ourselves on our musicianship and our ability to connect to and to work with a live audience, bringing about performances that repeatedly create phenomenal surges of tension, energy and excitement. I still get nervous before shows as every crowd is different, as a result every performance is unique and very much 'alive'.
I continue to surround myself with the very best musicians in the UK and endeavour to offer the audience a visceral, honest and totally un-compromised musical experience in which both audience and musicians alike are challenged, immersed and ultimately transformed.