We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
A virtuoso British Hammond B-3 player’s vehicle for nearly 10 years, the JTQ brings America its funkiest effort with Creation, the group’s 11th album. Essentially a revamped version of last year’s U.K. release A Few Useful Tips for Living Underground, Creation finds the group attacking American cop-show themes and melding various ’70s instrumental styles (blaxploitation soundtracks, funk, electro-jazz, jazz-funk) in a turn away from the groovy ‘ ’60s beat-swing that shaped the filmic The Money Spyder. Perhaps inevitably, the JTQ has embraced the sound of acid jazz (also the name of its U.K. label). The group has long had a strange relationship with acid jazz, a tag for a genre that many credit the group with originating, but that eventually came to denote a clubbier generic form the JTQ boys were never interested in. Now that the band has U.S. major-label backing, it may arrive just in time to save an anesthetized scene. The JTQ’s sometimes ostentatious jams come close to crossing the line that separates their smartly executed laid-back jazz from the self-indulgent noodling of lesser outfits, making Creation a somewhat challenging listen. The JTQ’s campier appropriations threaten to spin out of control, but the band always seems to rein them in at precisely the right time. Creation is the JTQ’s brassiest affair thus far, even featuring the contributions of JB’s Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis, and Fred Wesley on “The Theme From Starsky & Hutch,” in addition to JTQ regulars Dominick Glover’s trumpet and John Wilmott’s sax and flute. With the inclusion of the Austin Powers theme, there’s little reason to ask the JTQ novice, “Does it make you horny, baby? Does it?”