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Martin Taylor: In Concert

A great all-around jazz guitarist, Scotland’s Martin Taylor particularly excels at playing sans accompaniment. While he’s certainly benefited from the work of those who innovated the art, including George Van Eps, Lenny Breau and Joe Pass, he possesses the double threat of acute musicality and astounding technique, which enables him to integrate numerous elements. It all helps make him one of the finest players around, something that’s amply demonstrated over the course of this live set from 1998.

A master of harmony, Taylor crafts renditions that sparkle with imaginative reworkings and chord voicings. Frequently free-flowing, his treatments of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “I’m Old Fashioned” and “Stella by Starlight” feature a complex of devices, including contrasting tempos and textures, hip interludes and tasty introductions and endings. But what frequently sets him apart from other solo players is his ability to integrate complex bass figures, regardless of the tempo. This is particularly evident on numbers like “I Got Rhythm,” with its intricate bass line, and “Taking a Chance on Love,” whose opening beautifully pits a pedaled low note against moving chords.

Finally, though Taylor is a player’s player, don’t think his music is aimed at a select few; his choice of material and ease of execution make it accessible to anyone who appreciates excellence.

Originally Published