Martin Taylor

The Valley

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After the passing of Joe Pass, Britain's Martin Taylor has risen to become one of the premier jazz guitarists on the scene. Despite that, he's presented on a relatively small label here. The music is a mix of original compositions by Taylor (and compatriot Simon Dinnigan) and standards from around the jazz repertoire. Taylor has a relatively light touch, reminiscent, at times, of some new age players. Simultaneously though, he can pick his way through intricate passages akin to a piano player. At that however, not necessarily a jazz piano player. Taylor is admittedly influenced by the likes of Art Tatum, but his style is almost that of a classical pianist through much of the recording, and certainly on the order of a classical guitarist. Guest vocalists are present (opera singer Bryn Terfel and Sacha Distel in particular), though their talents don't quite fit with Simon & Garfunkel covers, truthfully. Overall, the covers are nice, though not always fitting. The originals are where Taylor really shines, letting his style flow as it will through the passages without worrying about remaining true to the original composers. Worth a listen for jazz guitar fans, though Taylor is likely not unheard of for those in the know anyway.

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