The Inspiration

After years of listening to the more melodic rock guitarists like Ritchie Blackmore, Brian May, Gary Moore, flash technique wizards like Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai, and out and out speed kings like Yngwie Malmsteen I came across a completely new approach to the guitar in my early thirties ( about the turn of the millennium ) and it was the living jazz guitar legend Martin Taylor MBE that made me realise there is more to the guitar than just flash and speed.

It was Ludwig Van Beethoven who said,

The guitar is a miniature orchestra in itself.

and when you listen to Martin Taylor you can’t do anything but agree with this observation! He makes the instrument sound like three guitars playing at once sometimes through his brilliant interpretations of jazz standards where he incorporates a moving bass line with the melody line an inner rhythm part and tasteful scalar runs.

From the moment I heard his version of George Gershwin’s:- “I’ve Got Rhythm” I thought to myself I’ve got to be able to do that one day. I had the pleasure of seeing this man play live at a school in Bolton one night in 2005 shortly after moving to the Manchester area and it was an unforgettable evening and pleasure to watch. And with any luck I’ll be getting along to his Band On The Wall gig in October when he is embarking on a UK solo tour to celebrate his 60th birthday.

So hopefully this youtube clip might inspire a few youngsters to take up jazz guitar long before I did. And this recent performance also illustrates how a talented clever musician can carry on getting better and better with age when contrasted with his earlier more energetic renditions of this piece. The increased musicianship with maturity more than compensates for the exuberance of youth. Comments are welcome on this blog, thank you.