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Picking Up Where We Left Off

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Album Review

British soul-jazz organist James Taylor has crossed easily between stylistic definitions throughout his career, from the hard-charging garage rock of the Prisoners to his pioneering acid jazz work of the '90s. As the title suggests, Picking Up Where We Left Off finds Taylor returning to a straight soul-jazz setup with a classic Hammond quartet lineup akin to the James Taylor Quartet but featuring new collaborators in guitarist Nigel Price, bassist Andy McKinney, and drummer Neil Robinson. Fresh blood aside, this is entirely familiar territory for Taylor, mixing funky, Jimmy Smith-inspired organ lines with shuffling beats and funk-influenced guitar. The closest thing to a departure is the ballad "Never in My Wildest Dreams," a lovely showcase for an extended George Benson-like solo by Price. Otherwise, Picking Up Where We Left Off does exactly what the title promises, and fans of the James Taylor Quartet and vintage '60s/'70s soul-jazz will appreciate the consistency.

Picking Up Where We Left Off, James Taylor's 4th Dimension
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