Rick Sanders reports on Martin Taylor, Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge, April 2006

Artist Visiting Cambridgeshire
Who would have imagined that a solo jazz guitarist could supply such a full and multifarious entertainment? Some words found scribbled in my notebook after the event: ‘tangible emotion immediately', ‘liquid mood flow', ‘easy to warm to', ‘gap between man and instrument very small', ‘lot of guts', ‘impossibly fast staccato chord runs with just one or two notes played from each'. You get the picture. This was indeed a masterly performance, combining complexity with transparency, high-spirited feats beside deep elegy. Taylor was even prepared to reveal part of his method. ‘It's like a lasagna,' he said, ‘all made up with layers.' He demonstrated, playing the component layers as applied to a West African tune. Melody line one, a small mid-range figure; line two, a syncopated addition on the next string; line three, a glinting treble highlight, line four, a deeply satisfying chord to bind together the previous. Already it was delirious. Finally, a generous bass figure was added. It was like watching a very baffling weaving machine, all these bits simultaneously doing this and that in a way you just can't get your brain round. And while performing this feat, Taylor was talking to the audience, almost as if relaxed. Good grief! This was exhilarating music.

Writer: Rick Sanders