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Last Train to Hauteville

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Album Review

Martin Taylor was exposed to the music of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli as a youngster, never realizing that he would end up touring and recording with the great violinist for 11 years. The guitarist formed his Spirit of Django band in 1994, which Grappelli inadvertently named by commenting that "You've captured the spirit of Django, but in your own style." The violinist's words proved prophetic, particularly with this 2010 release, in which Taylor plays both acoustic and electric guitar, with longtime members including accordion player Jack Embrow, rhythm guitarist John Goldie, bassist Terry Gregory, and drummer James Taylor, with the addition of clarinetist/soprano saxophonist Alan Barnes and vocalist Alison Burns. While Taylor's 11 compositions capture the flavor of the Gypsy jazz of Reinhardt and Grappelli, it is in an updated way, with a lighter air and more contemporary feeling. The guitarist's ballads prove immediately infectious, including the easygoing waltz "Le Jardin Anglais" and the laid-back ballad "Le Javanaise." Burns' wordless vocals are a nice touch, especially in the playful, breezy "Last Train to Hauteville" and the bossa nova "Mirette." One of the most fun tracks is the quirky "Monsieur Jacques," a hilarious instrumental impression of a French neighbor's attempts to ride a unicycle without crashing. Last Train to Hauteville is a welcome addition to Martin Taylor's vast discography.


Born: 1956 in Harlow, Essex, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Since the death of Joe Pass in 1994, Martin Taylor has become one of the most highly regarded guitarists in jazz. He was given his first guitar by his father, Buck Taylor. Although he was inspired at first by Django Reinhardt, it was piano players like Art Tatum that drew his attention and helped him practice to develop his phenomenal solo technique. In the late '70s, Stéphane Grappelli invited him to play in a series of concerts in France. The violinist was so impressed that he used Taylor often...
Full bio
Last Train to Hauteville, Martin Taylor
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  • €9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, World
  • Released: 10 May 2010

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