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Books: Written by Martin TaylorAll Formats | *| Method | *| Biography |
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"There is a touch of genius in Martin Taylor's playing." - CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE
The virtuoso guitarist Martin Taylor first came to prominence in the late 1970's through his collaborations with the jazz violin legend Stephane Grappelli, and now tours the world's concert halls with his dazzling live performances.
He began playing at the age of four when his father, jazz bassist Buck Taylor, gave him a small acoustic guitar as a present. A totally self taught guitarist, he learned to play by listening to his father's records and trying to imitate what he heard. Seven years later he was playing in local bands and gained the respect and admiration of professional musicians who were amazed by the young boy they called "The Guitar Wizard." Although inspired initially by the Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, it was to be piano players, most notably Art Tatum, that caught his imagination and set him on the path of developing his own individual style of solo playing.
In 1978 he made his debut album Taylor Made for Wave Records and the following year received a call from Stephane Grappelli inviting him to play on a series of concerts in France. Shortly after those concerts he joined Stephane on a coast-to-coast tour of the U. S., including New York's Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. It was the beginning of an eleven year collaboration which took in numerous world tours, and over 20 albums including recordings with Michel Legrand, Peggy Lee, Yehudi Menuhin, Nelson Riddle and several film soundtracks including the Louis Matle movie Milou en Mai and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine.
Alongside his work with Grappelli, Martin was also pursuing his own solo career and in 1987 had great commercial success in America with his Los Angeles recorded album Sarabanda. In 1993 he made his first solo album for Linn Records Artistry, which topped the UK jazz charts for six weeks and made him the biggest selling British jazz artist in the UK. The following year he formed his group "Spirit of Django," and their first recording for Linn Records also proved to be a best selling jazz album and was nominated best album in the British Jazz Awards and Martin was voted best guitarist for the seventh time in a row. Even people who are not familiar with Martin's work will have heard him many times with his version of Robert Palmer's Johnny and Mary, which was used on the famous cult TV ads with "Nicole-Papa" for the Renault Clio. In 1999 he signed a recording contract with Sony Jazz, making two critically acclaimed albums Kiss and Tell and Nitelife. He has also collaborated with many musicians outside of jazz including Yes guitarist Steve Howe and country guitar legend Chet Atkins. He was also featured on the Prefab Sprout album Andromeda Heights, and has recorded with George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Chris Rea, and ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman.
In 1998 Martin founded the Kirkmichael International Guitar Festival in his home village in Scotland, which has now become one of the biggest guitar festivals in the world. He also founded Guitars For Schools, which promotes the teaching of guitars in primary schools. Through his work he has raised money to pay for guitars and tuition for hundreds of school children throughout South West Scotland. Over the years he has received many awards and honours including The Freedom of the City of London, the Gold Badge Of Merit from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, and was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Paisley, Scotland in celebration of 25 years in music. In 2002, on the recommendation of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Martin was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for Services to Jazz Music, in the Queen's Jubilee Birthday Honours List, making him the first jazz guitarist ever to receive an honour from the Queen. His autobiography for Sanctuary Publishing "Kiss and Tell" is available worldwide.
His latest album "SOLO" is available on P3 Music www.p3music.com
"Europe's finest guitarist"- Jazz Times New York
"THE acoustic guitarist of his generation" - Acoustic Guitar Magazine
"A great artist" - Stephane Grappelli
"On of the greatest and most impressive guitarists in the world today. I just love his playing!" - Chet Atkins
"Martin Taylor's solo playing is absolutely inspiring and amazing" - Pat Metheny
Books authored by Martin Taylor