We are pleased to present, for the first time touring together in the United States, the UK.'s legendary guitarists Martin Taylor and Martin Simspon. They will each play solo, as well as performing collaborative pieces. The melding of Martin Taylor's classic jazz stylings with Martin Simpson's folksy, rough-hewn approach makes for a fascinating evening of great guitar music, and a unique treat for American audiences.
Martin Taylor is one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument. He's unbelievable.
Described as "THE acoustic guitarist of his generation" by America's Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Martin Taylor has established a unique career as an internationally acclaimed guitarist, and his inimitable style has seen him recognised as the world's foremost exponent of solo jazz guitar playing.
Although completely self taught, he has enjoyed a musical career spanning over 30 years, dazzling audiences with his solo shows, which combine virtuosity, emotion and humour, with a strong stage presence.
He spends much of the year travelling the world, playing in concert halls in Europe, North America, Japan, Asia, and Australasia.
As well as his solo concerts and recordings, he has also collaborated with musicians from many different musical genre including, Stephane Grappelli, Chet Atkins, Bill Wyman, Dionne Warwick, Sacha Distel, and Bryn Terfel.
In 2002, he was appointed MBE "For Services To Music", in The Queen's Birthday Honours List, which he received personally from Her Majesty The Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.
When not touring he divides his time between his homes in France and Scotland where he writes music for TV and film.
His autobiography MARTIN TAYLOR - AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A TRAVELLING MUSICIAN and his latest album THE VALLEY are available worldwide.
The man is no less than a guitar genius
Martin Bashir - Documentary Film Maker
A great artist
Europe's finest guitarist
Jazz Times New York
There is a touch of genius in his playing
Classical Guitar Magazine
No matter how complex or daring, Taylor's interpretations never short change the melodies; indeed, his remarkable fluid touch embues a seamless beauty. Martin Taylor is something to behold
The Washington Post
Martin was born in May 1953 in Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, a particularly fertile tilth for English traditional music as Percy Grainger and generations thereafter discovered. After leaving school in 1970 and abandoning a half-hearted stab at further education, he threw it all in to become a professional musician in 1971. By the age of 12 he was playing guitar, by 13 banjo and at 14 he made his first paid appearance. Like his friend and fellow Martin, Martin Carthy, he still plays the British folk club circuit as eagerly as the grandest music rooms that the world of music can offer.
It was back in 1975 that the singer Barbara Dickson (another so-called 'graduate' of the folk club scene) recommended Martin to Bill Leader who went to see Martin perform. It led to Martin's first solo album, Golden Vanity, (1976) for Bill Leader's Trailer label. Word got out quickly. Within the year, he was supporting Steeleye Span and, by 1977, he was accompanying that magisterial song-interpreter, June Tabor, whose previous principal guitar accompanist had been Nic Jones, no easy size 10s to fill. Their remarkable decade-long partnership produced a triptych of highly influential albums in A Cut Above (1980), Abyssinians (1983) and Aqaba (1988) and a body of performance pieces that never received commercial release. Martin moved to the United States in 1987 but it was not to be the end of their partnership. He guested as her accompanist on her An Echo of Hooves (2003) and in her television special in the BBC4 Sessions concert performance series (2004).
Martin has continually added new colours to his palette, expanding on his primary musical interests in British, Anglo-American and Afro-American traditional forms and building on the foundations and expressiveness laid down by Harry Cox, Blind Willie Johnson, Big Joe Williams, Percy Webb and Blind Willie McTell. Gradually, hesitantly at first - with the full flush of 20:20 hindsight - he found a singing voice to complement his voice on the guitar. An influx of songs from Bob Dylan, Bob Franke, John B Spencer, John Tams and Richard Thompson, not to mention his own compositions on albums such as Bootleg USA (1999) and Righteousness & Humidity (2003), showed other sides of his musical character. Still, the basic rule of engagement remains: that of balancing the traditional and the contemporary. That said, with The Bramble Briar (2001), he concentrated on British story-telling of traditional kinds, whether derived from the tradition or tradition-based material from the likes of Peter Bellamy, Cecilia Costello, Louis Killen and Cyril Tawney.
Much of Martin's music reflects the places where he has lived. Time spent in England and the United States underpins his art, yet years ago he learned to apply the artistry of experience in different contexts. A Closer Walk With Thee (1993) explored the Christian Hymnal tradition as planted and cross-fertilized on American soil. Later he collaborated with musicians such as the great Wu Man of the Pudong School of Pipa (Chinese Lute), with whom he recorded Music for the Motherless Child (1996). The all-instrumental Cool & Unusual (1997) partnered him with members of the Malagasy band, Tarika Sammy, Kelly Joe Phelps and that musical saucier, David Lindley for one hell of a feast.
Martin's playing deploys a control of pace and dynamics that touches the heart, like the best music, irrespective of whether the listener has a bit of Lincolnshire, Mississippi or Ganges beneath their manicured or careworn nails. In his playing he focuses upon economy and how to make each note pay. Listen to him playing now and you will hear how he measures not only the impact and length of each note, but, tellingly how he delivers the space that frames each note.
In early 2004, seasoned Simpson-watchers noted him attaining hitherto unsuspected artistic heights with new levels of intensity and economy. He put it down, in part, to taking delivery of a new banjo from Ron Saul and rediscovering the place of the banjo in his guitar-playing. After one truly transfiguring concert in Nettlebed in Oxfordshire, the club's master of ceremonies suggested a group-hug for the guitaristically shell-shocked whilst the rest of the audience concentrated on coming down from a state of music-induced euphoria, while floating happily out of Nettlebed.
Martin Taylor solo
October 12 Middletown Arts Center, Middletown NJ
October 14 Ram’s Head, Annapolis MD
October 15 Inter-American Development Bank Concert Hall, Washington DC
October 17 Manchester Craftsmans Guild, Pittsburgh PA
October 18 Denison University, Denison OH
October 19 Bowling Green University, Bowling Green OH
October 21 Tucson Guitar Society concert, Tucson AZ
October 22 Tucson Guitar Society concert, Green Valley AZ
October 23 Riverside Community College, Riverside CA
October 24 Community House, Dana Point CA
October 25, Mission Viejo Civic Center, Mission Viejo CA
October 28 Yoshi's, Oakland CA
October 29 Yoshi's, San Francisco CA
The Two Martins
October 30 The Big Room, Sierra Nevada Brewery, Chico CA
November 2 Capilano College, Vancouver BC
November 3 Cowichan Theater, Duncan BC
November 4-5 Jazz Alley, Seattle WA
November 7 Washington Performing Arts Center, Olympia WA
November 8 Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis MN
November 9 Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago IL
Martin Simpson solo
November 11 Empire Theater, Grand Forks MN
November 14 Freight and Salvage, Berkeley Ca
November 15 Kuumbwa’s, Santa Cruz CA
November 16 McCabe’s, Santa Monica CA
November 19 Museum of Making Music, Carlsbad CA
November 21 Unitarian Church of Ithaca, Ithaca NY
November 22 Old Songs, Voorheesville NY
November 23 Memphis College of Art, Memphis TN