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Top notch live music at 4 Daughters

Keyboardist John Taylor and saxophonist Brandon Fields join the Rogue Suspects for a lineup of jazzy funk and classic rock 'n' roll this weekend at a new nightclub in downtown Medford.

The Suspects features guitarists Jeff Pevar and Dirk Price, bassist Greg Frederick and drummer David Bolen. The group will perform at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5, at 4 Daughters Irish Pub, 126 W. Main St., Medford. Pevar will be playing on Saturday only.

Taylor is a relative newcomer to the Rogue Valley. He and his wife moved here from Las Vegas to found the Children's Musical Theatre of Oregon.

The children's theater has been a successful venture, Taylor says, with productions such as "High School Musical" and "Peter Pan." Taylor also directed musical arrangements and performed piano for Oregon Cabaret Theatre's productions of "Plaid Tidings" and "Five Guys Named Moe." He holds undergraduate and graduate music degrees.

While in Vegas, Taylor worked as a musical director, conductor and musician with Cirque du Soleil's production of "O" at the Bellagio.

"The job was great," Taylor says. "It was exciting work and a lot of fun. But my wife and I decided to get out of the rat race."

His career as musician, composer and musical director spans more than 30 years. Before his work in Las Vegas, he lived in Los Angeles for about 15 years — with a brief stint in Nashville — and he has worked with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, jazz saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa, the R&B group DeBarge, pop vocalist Rick Astley and the pop trio Exposé, to name a few. He wrote "Never Knew Love" for Astley in 1992, and the song became a hit in the United Kingdom.

Taylor was invited to join the Rogue Suspects when the band's former keyboard player, Dean Angermeier, announced he was taking a break.

"I'd played with the Suspects six or seven times, sitting in for Dean," Taylor says. "They're great players, and we just clicked immediately.

"The band's been playing the same songs for awhile as a guitar-based group," he says. "I'll bring a lot more keyboard-influenced music to the mix. Like work by Bruce Hornsby, Michael McDonald, David Foster, Toto and, of course, Steely Dan."

Los Angeles-based Sideman and recording artist Fields will sit in with Taylor and the Suspects this weekend.

Fields earned a Grammy Award for his album "Alejandro Sanz y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte" in 2002, and he performed on Ray Charles' 2005 Grammy winner "Genius Loves Company."

Fields' debut recording came out in 1986 and demonstrated what would become a common element in all of his recordings — a versatile take on songwriting and a high level of interaction with band mates. He's worked with Tower of Power; Earth, Wind and Fire; Elton John; Quincy Jones; and other notable musicians.

"Fields and I knew a lot of the same people in L.A.," Taylor says. "It will be great to finally work with him."

Cover for the show at 4 Daughters Irish Pub is free. Call 779-4455.