James Taylor

The Penthouse Suite

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Hammond-driven British acid jazz pioneer James Taylor knows how to funk out. His Quartet's first album since 1996's critically acclaimed recording, Creation, shows that after more than a decade of aggressive music-making the band is still not over the hill. Using the B-3 organ as a weapon, this album feels like one long car-chase movie with a few sexy spies thrown in for good measure. While it is probably not as catchy as Creation, Penthouse Suite still manages to be charming, especially on the tracks that feature vocalist Neal McCoy, who seems to be channelling James Brown (surreally paired with flute on "Love the Life") and cranks the energy level up even one more notch.

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