American Standard (Fantasy)
With living room concerts being all the range the past few years, I’ve been mulling over who I’d like to see in my front room. James Taylor would definitely be on the short list. Here, on his first Fantasy release, he nearly makes that wish come true, as he makes his way through the great American songbook of standards. Arrangements are kept sparse and intimate, framing Taylor’s voice in warmth.
To those saying that this thematic effort is the sure sign of an artist whose creative juices are all dried-up, I say “Shut up.” Taylor’s voice in of itself is a classic, so why should he shy away from this material? “The Nearness Of You” and “Pennies From Heaven” have rarely sounded better. There are fourteen tracks in all, and a special Target edition adds two more. American Standard is a gift.