• Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub


NORTH-East jazz lovers are in for a treat when the James Taylor Quartet (JTQ) plays The Fire Station, Sunderland, later this month.

Led by Hammond organ guru James Taylor, the quartet have long set the standard for the coolest sounds in funky acid jazz and play the venue on Friday, June 16.

The band was formed in 1985 following the break-up of James’s former band, The Prisoners. The band consists of James on the Hammond organ; Mark Cox on guitar; Andrew McKinney on bass and Pat Illingworth on drums. Vocalist Yvonne Yanney is a regular for recordings and live performances.

As well as performing with his band, James has collaborated with the likes of U2, Manic Street Preachers, The Pogues and Tom Jones.

While promoting their first two albums, Mission Impossible and The Money Spyder, JTQ developed a reputation for their live performances. For their next album in 1988, Wait a Minute, JTQ recorded their signature tune, The Theme From Starsky and Hutch.

The band changed musical direction in the early 1990s, releasing a string of song-based albums which appealed to the soul and acid jazz scene at the time. Vocalists featured included Rose Windross (of Soul II Soul), Alison Limerick and Noel McKoy who became a permanent member of the band for some of this period.

Their single Love the Life reached the Top 40 and the accompanying album Supernatural Feeling reached the Top 30 in the UK albums chart.

Since the mid-1990s, JTQ have returned to their original style of Hammond-led jazz funk. More recent albums have incorporated cover versions, but most tracks are original compositions. Their most recent album, Man in the Hot Seat, was released last year. This critically-acclaimed album features music inspired by film composers such as John Barry and Lalo Schifrin.

Tamsin Austin, Venue Director for The Fire Station, said: “JTQ are hugely popular and regarded as the finest purveyors of acid jazz, and their live shows are legendary. The band has been filling venues for more than three decades and we’re looking forward to a magical night.

“James plays the Hammond with a punk attitude and in a way it wasn’t built for – but the results are amazing, and he’s one of the great British instrumentalists of the past 40 years. Expect floor filling, funky rhythms and classics such as Green Onions and Time is Right, as well as JTQ’s debut single Blow Up.”

The gig will include a warm-up set from DJ Smoove and for further information or to book tickets, which start at £17, go to www.thefirestation.org.uk.