Formed in 1986, JTQ are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and have a new album “The Template” out as part of their celebrations. Coming just before the early days of the Acid Jazz movement and record label, they play a distinctive blend of Sixties Hammond fuelled funk, soul, TV themes and R & B and have amassed a decent following around Europe, particularly in Italy (James Taylor’s wife is Italian).
As to be expected it’s a fast, funky and danceable set from the band, consisting of drums, bass, lead guitar and of course the Hammond organ. They’re augmented tonight by an additional trumpet and Yvonne Yanney giving an excellent performance on vocals.
The set goes down really well, particularly when they play old favourites like “Theme from Starsky And Hutch”, “Time is tight” by Booker T and the MGs and “Love the life”, their top 40 hit from the early Nineties. For this they bring out their original singer Noel McKoy, who is still one of the best UK soul singers since emerging with his brothers and sisters in the band McKoy in the late Eighties. His voice is still great and his spins, shouts and splits are reminiscent of Jackie Wilson for enthusiasm and energy.
They end with a version of Donny Hathaway’s “The Ghetto”, with James dividing the audience in half to sing the chorus. A great song and a great way to end set. They’ve always been noted for their live shows and from tonight’s performance they proove they’re still a dynamic live force to be reckoned with. Always worth checking out live, their new album “The Template” also features John Turrell from soulful UK troopers Smoove and Turrell and is worth checking out too.