For those who are only familiar with Martin from his Grappelli days or solo performances "Nitelife" may be a shock. If you are a Martin Taylor fan and have been following his career you will see the natural progression of a creative jazz musician.
This album is infectious and the more you listen to it the more it grows on you. Here are just a few highlights of what to expect.
The album opens with the original tune "Chaff & Grain" that has a groove that sets the tone for the rest of the album. On this track Martin and Kirk Whalum trade guitar and sax lines in the true jazz style with a ease and fluidity that only great masters of their instrument can do—with that groove making you tap your foot and nod your head.
The second tune, "Doctor Spin" starts with a Delta Blues type slide guitar that immediately makes you sit up and take notice. Martin enters seamlessly blending his style into the groove. The tune also features strong trumpet work. Martin then covers the tune "That’s the Way of the World" with great melodic octave work that reminds you of what an improvised solo is all about.
For all his fans that want to hear Martin’s unique solo guitar technique you will not be disappointed as he performs two tracks "Hymne A L’Amour" with string section introduction and ending that is simply gorgeous and "I Get Along Without You Very Well". These are jaw dropping as usual with a sound and sensitivity that only Martin is capable of.
A number of tracks incorporate the London DJ Fink into the mix. Martin is now totally breaking down the jazz barriers and these can be quite unusual to the conservative jazz listener, but they do become additive, The more you listen the more you realize where they are coming from and there unique creativity.
One of my favorite tracks is Celtic style original by Martin, "Across the Pond". In this tune all the stops are pulled out and I don’t know what else musically could transpire. A traditional vocal chorus is introduced in the introduction, acoustic guitars, and synthesizers and about every other instrument imaginable is incorporated. A tremendous Tenor sax solo emanates by Jim Horn with Martin weaving his magic throughout with that Celtic drone emanating under it all.
This album is definitely breaking musical boundaries for Martin and the world of jazz guitar. Martin Taylor is still the same great creative guitarist we have grown to admire over the years, but is simply adjusting with the times and it suits him well.
Track Listing: Chaff & Grain, Doctor Spin, That's The Way Of The World, Deja Vu, Hymne A L'Amour, Nitelife, Green Lady, Beboptimism, Across The Pond, I Get Along Without You Very Well
Personnel: Martin Taylor, guitar; Kirk Whalum,tenor saxophone, programming; Jim Reed, soprano saxophone; Jim Horn, alto,tenor and baritone saxophones; Jim Stoddart, keyboards; David Hungate, bass; Viktor Krauss, upright bass; Chester Thompson, drums; Steve Buckingham, wah wah guitar; Monica Angell, viola, Kristin Wilkinson, viola, programming; David Davidson, violin; David Angell, violin; Fink, programming; Brian D. Siewert, programming, keyboards; Michelle Anne Williams, vocals; Mike Durham, electric guitar.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.