THE James Taylor Quartet have been at the forefront of the acid jazz scene for 15 years. They play Burnley on October 21.

The first JTQ album Mission Impossible laid the foundation for what would become their signature sound -- "funked-up, sleazed-down, keyboard-driven jazz" in their own words.

Like most musicians, it was the promise of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll that lured James Taylor into the music scene.

But ultimately excess would cause his life to come crashing down and lead him down the path of self-discovery.

"As a 16 or 17-year-old kid, being on stage, you have got access to women when, if you were anyone else, you wouldn't," he said.

"There's the partying, the touring around the world. It's like being a kid with a box of chocolates.

"You can have everything you've ever wanted and more, but it's that very thing that gets to you in the end."

And when it finally did get to him, he came crashing down hard.

"When I was about 35 I became a mess," he said

"I think it happens to a lot of people on the road, but it's not just that. I think it goes right back to early childhood as well.

"The fact you are so drawn to being a performer says quite a lot about the type of person you are, seeking approval.

"I have done a lot of work in therapy and I'm actually training to be a therapist myself. When you get into a bad position you learn a lot about life and I've no regrets. I'm glad I went through it."

So will he be swapping the stage for a corner office with leather couch?

"I will see clients but of course it wouldn't replace music. I can't not be a musician. I actually see the two as linked. Music is a form of therapy."

Perhaps he can hold therapy sessions for his audiences? "They can help me sort out my problems out, more like."

JTQ fans are die-hard, verging on obsessive, which according to James is all down to the connection they make with their audience.

"Connecting with an audience is phenomenal. There's nothing else like it," he said. "It's a euphoric feeling for everyone involved. It's a shared joy.

"Playing to audiences and feeling close to the audience, sharing good music has been what I've loved from day one.

"We're very much a band that embrace the audience. I think that's why we have such die-hard fans.

"The whole point of our music is about connecting to the audience, looking into people on a very profound level.

"The audience want to be part of that and that's the kind of people we do tend to attract and that's an uplifting experience.

"There's a lot of isolation about today and that is a remedy."

The James Taylor Quartet are at Burnley Mechanics, on Friday, October 21, 8pm. For tickets call 01282 664400 or visit

Caroline Dutton