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James Taylor Quartet: Message From the Godfather

Tedious tasks pass more quickly when listening to the James Taylor Quartet’s Message From the Godfather. The music is brisk and bright, the band is tight and disciplined and the whole thing is shot through with all the glorious sounds the organ can make, as provided by the leading Taylor. However, if you sit down to actually listen to the album, it will eventually lose your attention, even during Taylor’s impressive slow-burn crescendos and sax/flute player John Willmott’s fluent, playful soloing. The reason is simple: Every song on this album sounds exactly like every other song on this album. There is not a track on this CD that doesn’t open and close with a statement of a peppy melody, settle quickly into an uptempo groove and yield the floor to extended, somewhat predictable solos in the middle. And if you know what’s coming, there’s very little incentive to pay attention. Admittedly, some of the tunes are catchier than others, but ultimately Message From the Godfather makes a much stronger impression in the background than in the foreground.

Originally Published