By Steve Futterman
Updated January 19, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

James Taylor has written his share of elegant and durable songs, but interpreting them in a crease-free smooth-jazz manner, or with a far too emphatic R&B slant — as this multi-artist tribute (Tower of Power, New York Voices, Les McCann, among them) too often does — is an homage you wouldn’t wish on an enemy. When singer and song come together gracefully (hear Shirley Horn’s wistful ”Secret o’ Life”), the project properly satisfies — but all too often, it’s strictly hit-or-miss. C