(This page is for the British band who recorded one Peel session. For the American singer-songwriter, see James Taylor.)

The James Taylor Quartet (or JTQ) are a British four-piece jazz-funk band, who have become renowned for their live performances. They were formed in 1987 by Hammond organ player James Taylor following the break-up of his former band The Prisoners in the wake of Stiff Records' bankruptcy.

The James Taylor Quartet's first single, "Blow-Up" (a funked-up version of Herbie Hancock's main theme from the seminal 1960s film of the same name), was released in 1987 on the Re Elect The President label, which would later become the Acid Jazz label. The track was championed by the NME and John Peel, appearing in Peel's Festive Fifty chart for 1987. The band's debut album, Mission Impossible, was released the same year and predominantly comprised covers of 1960s film themes such as "Alfie", "Mrs. Robinson" and "Goldfinger" in a rough, up-tempo, almost punk-like style, that was primarily focussed on Taylor's Hammond organ playing. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

The James Taylor Quartet - Blow Up

The James Taylor Quartet - Blow Up

Peel was an early supporter of the band, booking them for a session in the same month as the release of their debut single, perhaps attracted by the retro Sixties sound and material that characterized their initial releases. As noted by Mark Whitby, the up-front use of the organ to some extent anticipated the Inspiral Carpets.[1]

While the James Taylor Quartet’s version of the theme from “Blow-Up” reached #33 in the 1987 Festive Fifty, however, available show tracklistings suggest this was the last time they were played on Peel’s show.

Festive Fifty Entries


One session only. “Blow Up” released on The BBC Sessions, CD, 1995/1997 (Nighttracks CDNT010 / Strange Fruit SFRSCD043).

1. Recorded 1987-04-12 First broadcast: 29 April 1987. Repeated

  • Blow Up / Goldfinger / Hump-Backed Bridge / One-Way Street

Other Shows Played

External Links


  1. Mark Whitby, The Festive Fifty (2005), pg26.
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