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Martin Taylor: Nitelife

Guitarist Martin Taylor’s virtuoso handling of “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” featuring a full, meditative solo read built on harmony and texture, is among the many expressive highlights on Nitelife (Columbia 85909; 56:37). The British protege of Stephane Grappelli shows an exciting range here, mixing classic elements into thoroughly modern soul-jazz arrangements. A Delta-blues guitar sample weaves through the program loop of “Doctor Spin,” for example, and the urban champagne ballad “Green Lady” is touched with orchestral strings. Taylor’s classically wrought, spinning guitar introduction similarly segues into a mellow synthesized mood on “That’s the Way of the World.” Highlights include a funk pastiche of the Dionne Warwick chestnut “Deja Vu,” with the rumble of a lumbering street groove backgrounding Taylor’s smooth guitar melody, and a jovial romp of change-up rhythms and funky squinched keyboards on “Beboptimism,” a spotlight duet for Taylor and album co-producer saxist Kirk Whalum. Taylor’s versatility comes to the forefront on the rootsy “Chaff & Grain,” showcasing stutters and fluid runs alike, and “Hymne a l’Amour,” a ringing, hauntingly pretty harmonics-driven riff on Edith Piaf.

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