James Taylor received the 2012 Spirit Award from the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal this week. He was the seventh recipient since the award was established in 2006.
From the Festival’s announcement:
James Taylor will be the seventh artist to receive the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award. Created especially on the occasion of the 27th edition of the Festival, in 2006, this special award underlines a popular artist’s extraordinary contribution to the musical world. His gentle, sincere melodies, his perfectly resonant lyrics, his unique voice and his subtle and delicate guitar stylings have made James Taylor one of the most highly esteemed and beloved of singer-songwriters. The eternal masterpieces he has added to the pop/folk repertoire include Carolina In My Mind, Fire and Rain and, of course, his cover of Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend. With a career stretching over 40 years, James Taylor has sold 50 million albums and won 5 Grammy Awards. The time has come to recognize and celebrate this icon who expressed the voice of a generation with such finesse, earning induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His concert at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier is an opportunity for devoted fans to bask in the glow of his unique vocal timbre and his timeless greatest hits-surrounded by the finest musicians-and to discover what a singer of this caliber can deliver when he reworks immortal songs by Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thornton and Junior Walker.
As a recipient of the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award, James Taylor follows in the footsteps of Robert Plant (2011), Smokey Robinson (2010), Stevie Wonder (2009), Leonard Cohen (2008), Bob Dylan (2007) and Paul Simon (2006).
He performed at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier on June 27th and 28th, as part of his 2012 Summer Tour, which launched last week at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here are some clips of him performing “Carolina In My Mind” and “One Man Parade”.
In an earlier interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he talked about playing with a larger band again. His regular band mates, pianist Larry Goldings, bassist Jimmy Johnson, drummer Steve Gadd, percussionist Luis Conte, and horn player Lou Marini, are joined by guitarist Dean Parks, who has played for Crosby & Nash, Carole King, and dozens others. James is also reunited with his longtime singers David Lasley, Kate Markowitz, and Andrea Zonn, who doubles on fiddle, with Jim Gilstrup filling out the vocal quartet. Jim is a renounced session singer, but his voice is most well-known from the theme song of the late ’70s sitcom “Good Times”. He also had a hit single in 1975.
The article ends with talk of the new album:
He says he has nine songs right now in various stages of completion and he is going to concentrate on them for a new album after this tour ends.
“Come October, I am going to put everything else aside and work on that,” he says.
For James’ complete tour schedule, visit JamesTaylor.com.