Martin Taylor/David Grisman: I’m Beginning to See the Light

Combine the talents of one of the bluegrass/jazz movement’s leading figures with arguably Europe’s finest guitarist and you get an all around stellar acoustic workout that in this case also benefits from the presence of bassist Jim Kerwin and drummer George Marsh.

The default leader due to the fact that the project uses his usual working rhythm section, Grisman wields his mandolin with an expertise born of many years playing with some of the finest acoustic musicians around. Equally at ease on electric guitar, Taylor here concentrates on acoustic arch-top, which he uses to weave sleek chord phrases and dazzling, hip single-note lines. But while each player individually shines throughout, some of the album’s brightest moments come from the richly resonant interplay that encompasses subtle chordal punctuations and support (“Autumn Leaves”), detailed ensemble work (like the tasty harmonics at the beginning of “Lover Man”), and frequently grooving imitation and counterpoint (“Exactly Like You”). It all makes for one of the finest rootsy jazz collaborations in recent memory.