Album Review: James Taylor Quartet and the Rochester Cathedral Chior – The Rochester Mass

The James Taylor Quartet`s career has seen many changes since their formation in 1987, from Blow Up to the emergence of the acid jazz scene in the early 90`s there live performances have influenced many artists, and have seen them collaborate with The Manics, Pogues and U2 to name a few.

This new release from the group see`s them attempt to support a choral sound which came about 3 years ago when the band were booked to play a gig with the Rochester Choir. Subsequently Taylor wrote more material for them and started by performing it at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and at the Cathedral. That has led to this recording of The Rochester Mass, out via Cherry Red on December 4th.

Set out in a traditional Mass format, the album starts with Sanctus parts 1 and 2, which sets up the work beautifully, a jazz funk mass indeed , while things get a little darker for Agnus Dei Acapella and Part 1, but its sheer beauty carries it through.
Standout pieces appear as tracks 8 and 9, Gloria parts 1 and 2, a slight return to funk roots Taylor shifting to a fender Rhodes on most of this album, it’s a haunting piece of music with great flute work from Gareth Lockrane.
This album follows on nicely from the bands 2013 album Closer To The Moon, indeed on receiving this release I was not sure it would work, it does and lovers of James Taylors music and back catalogue will be fascinated by this unique listening experience.

Check him out talking about the work, here

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