It’s a rainy Thursday evening here in Worthing, but we’re warmed up by the soulful and funky sounds of the Inappropriate Handclap DJ’s, a good way to get things going as the venue fills up before the main event.
The James Taylor Quartet have been playing for thirty years but tonight is their first visit to Worthing, so credit goes to Atom Promotions for bringing them to town.
It’s also fitting that this gig is in the St. Paul’s Arts Centre, as it serves as a valuable mid sized venue for the town as well as being a community hub, open as a café during the day. Unfortunately this Grade II listed building is being threatened by developers and is scheduled to close very soon.
The quartet is made up of drums, bass, guitar and James Taylor on a vintage Hammond organ. They begin with “Eight Counts For Rita”, a cover version by Jimmy Smith, another Hammond organ maestro who’s work is an obvious influence on James Taylor’s funky style of beat driven playing.
Taylor started out in Mod revival group The Prisoners, who were signed to Stiff Records before the label’s bankruptcy, and he’s maintained the modernist vibe with JTQ. Their grooves are distinctly aimed at the dance floor, which is why they still play their classics like the “Starsky & Hutch” theme, a staple during the Acid Jazz period of the late Eighties.
The band are extremely tight, there are some great drum solos and for some of the songs they also use a couple of additional musicians, the trumpet and flute adding an extra dimension to this enjoyable and danceable set. They play a mixture of old and new tunes and there are a few excellent cover versions that go down extremely well. A couple of numbers by Booker T And The MG’s, “Time Is Tight” and “Green Onions” allows Taylor to get the audience involved, encouraging people to dance as well as chant and clap along to different song parts.
After about 80 minutes they encore with “Duffin’ ’round”, a funky organ classic by Brother Jack McDuff and David Newman from the “Double Barrelled Soul” album, then finish with “All Wrapped Up”.
The James Taylor Quartet are always gigging and are definitely a group to catch live if you can.
Sign the petition to keep the St. Paul’s Arts Centre open here.