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Martin Taylor in Concert by Martin Taylor

This review is for those who are not familiar with this remarkable British guitarist. I wasn't and that was my loss. His fans have been waiting for this Pittsburgh concert album since its recording in June 1998.

I almost skipped this CD as so many guitar albums seem to be just one designed-to-impress boppish run after another. And a solo concert at that! What could one lone guitarist do for an hour or more? The answer is "PLENTY!" Taylor takes virtuosity to a higher level. He's a "finger style" guitarist who in effect plays duets with himself and whose alter ego may play either guitar or bass. There are extended bass lines, exchanges of chords, runs and phrases. And all of this is real, not dubbed.

Taylor eases into the opener, "They Can't Take That Away From Me", and builds up to swing. "I'm Old Fashioned," and "I Got Rhythm" also start off light and easy and then go into overdrive. "I Got Rhythm" just soars! Taylor's interpretation of Luis Eca's samba, "The Dolphin," has me wishing for an all-Brazilian album while the bluesy "Georgia on My Mind" suggests a lazy Southern afternoon.

Then there's a driving "Mellow Tone," a happy "Lulu's Back In Town" and an Earl Hines influenced "Sweet Lorraine." Taylor's romantic approach breathes new life into the jam session chestnut, "Stella by Starlight." Other ballads include Streisand's "Why Did I Choose You" and Benny Golson's moving tribute, "I Remember Clifford." The concert winds up with its highlight, an adventurous and almost surrealistic treatment of "Taking A Chance On Love," involving bass/melody interplay that must be heard to be believed!

Taylor, whose influences include Django, possesses an articulate and relaxed touch. He has technique to spare yet plays with taste and creativity rather than tricks. He was associated with Stephane Grappelli for eleven years and twenty albums. That's a recommendation in itself. In the Pittsburgh MC's closing words, Martin Taylor is "remarkable, astonishing and amazing."

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Martin Taylor
  • CD Title: Martin Taylor in Concert
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Milestone
  • Rating: Five Stars
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