Get Organized

James Taylor Quartet

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Get Organized Review

by Owen Guthrie-Jones

On this, their fourth studio album, you are treated to the unexpected missing link between James Taylor Quartet's early mod-cum-spy theme sound and the later polished acid jazz feel (which carried the band through to be the respected pioneer figures they are today) without sounding exactly like either of them.

Having landed themselves with the big-budget U.K. label Polydor, James Taylor found he could indulge himself with the best in big jazz-funk sounds, employing what sounded suspiciously like more than a "quartet" to produce a collection of bold and brassy numbers that escalated the sounds of Johnny Hammond and Booker T into the late '80s. The album begins as it finishes, with a touching yet relentless jazz-rock instrumental groove combining clever chord structures and strong piano flourishes gliding over, of course, Taylor's trademark whirring Hammond organ. As ever, it's with this tool that Taylor guides the listener's focus (hence the title), on this record especially, as all but two of the songs are instrumental, a fact you would only subliminally realize as the organ and brass lay down strong melodies. In fact, the only real inclusion of vocals comes courtesy of Cleveland Watkiss on "It Doesn't Matter," a feel-good jive-inspired mid-tempo track, and the anthemic "Breakout," which gives the band a brief chance to exercise their vocal chords. Elsewhere, the listener is treated to cool modern boogaloos and bossa novas as Taylor proves he's more than just adept on the ivories, but a capable arranger as well.

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