In Concert

Martin Taylor

Solo jazz guitar is notoriously difficult. To keep melody, harmony, and rhythm going simultaneously within an improvisatory context demands prodigious technical skill–it’s no accident that one of Joe Pass’s best solo records is called Virtuoso. That Martin Taylor possesses such skill is undeniable; his breakneck, witty, syncopated rendering of “I Got Rhythm” provides proof enough. Where his talent shines, however, is in the complete independence of his melody lines, with him sounding at times like a soloist playing with a busy, slightly frenetic accompanist–sort of like Art Tatum accompanying Bill Evans. Because of the precision of Taylor’s execution and the pristine quality of his guitar tone–all the more amazing in this live context–this is not as disconcerting as you might think. Technique aside, his rendering of the romantic “Why Did I Choose You?” reveals a much more important aspect of the guitarist’s art; like his hero, Django Reinhardt, Taylor can stir the emotions. –Michael Ross