Biography

‘Martin Taylor is one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument. He’s unbelievable’ – Pat Metheny

‘He out-shred’s all of us put together….I’ve never seen anything like it’ – Jeff Beck

Multi award winning guitarist and composer MARTIN TAYLOR has established a unique musical career as an internationally acclaimed musician, and his inimitable style has seen him recognized as the world’s foremost exponent of solo jazz guitar playing.

Although completely self taught, he has enjoyed a remarkable musical career spanning across five decades, and during that time has invented and developed a way of playing the guitar that is admired, and often imitated, by guitarists all over the world. As well as being a true guitar innovator, he is also a master concert performer, dazzling audiences with his solo shows, which combine virtuosity, emotion, humor, with a strong stage presence.

He spends much of the year traveling the world, playing in concert halls in Europe, North America, Japan, Asia, and Australasia as well as presiding over the uniquely innovative Martin Taylor Guitar Academy Online.

As well as his solo concerts and recordings, he has also collaborated with musicians from many different musical genre including, Stephane Grappelli, Jeff Beck, Chet Atkins, Bill Wyman, George Harrison, Dionne Warwick, Diane Schuur and Jamie Cullum.

From 1979 to 1990 he toured the world and recorded over 20 albums with the French jazz violin legend STEPHANE GRAPPELLI. Their album with Vassar Clements “Together At Last” won a Grammy Nomination in 1987.

Monsieur Grappelli described him as “A great artist, rich in talent and elegance”

His ground breaking solo album ARTISTRY, produced by Steve Howe, was released in 1992 to much critical acclaim. It was No 1 in the HMV Jazz Charts for a record 12 weeks and launched his career as an international solo artist.

After two very successful albums for Sony/Columbia, KISS AND TELL and NITELIFE, he went on to record several albums for The Guitar Label.

In 1999 he was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of The West of Scotland and in 2002, was appointed MBE “For Services To Jazz Music”, in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List, which he received personally from Her Majesty The Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

In 2007 he received the prestigious BBC Radio 2 “Heart of Jazz” Award in recognition of his career in music, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Wales Jazz Guitar Festival for his “Contribution to Jazz Guitar Worldwide”

He has also received a record 14 British Jazz Awards as a guitarist, and as a composer he was nominated for “Best Contemporary Song” in the BBC Folk Awards in 2009.

The prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama made him an Honorary Doctor of Music in 2010.

When not touring he divides his time between Scotland and California, where the Martin Taylor Guitar Academy is based.

His film credits include the French comedy “Milou En Mai” directed by Louis Malle, and more recently his composition “Green Lady” is featured in the Andrew Piddington movie “The Killing of John Lennon”

His many TV credits include the theme music for “After You’ve Gone” featuring Nicholas Lyndhurst and Celia Imrie, and the cult “Nicole-Papa” TV commercials for the Renault Clio.

Outside of his work as a musician he is also involved in several charities including the Child Bereavement Charity, is Patron of the My Wish Foundation of Sri Lanka, and is a Trustee and Vice President of Scotland’s Buddhist Vihara.

His autobiography “Martin Taylor- Autobiography of a Travelling Musician” and his latest album “Double Standards” is available here.

2010 saw the launch of the uniquely innovative Martin Taylor Guitar Academy online.  As one of the world’s most recognized online guitar teachers his innovative online guitar school with its headquarters in Napa, CA has been featured on NPR, BBC, Fox News and the LA Times and is subscribed to by guitarists in over 58 countries.

His recent collaboration with Guy Barker saw the debut of their “Spirit of Django Orchestral Suite” which they performed at the 2012 BBC Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

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“Europe’s finest guitarist” – JazzTimes

“The man is no less than a guitar genius” – Martin Bashir (MSNBC Anchor)

“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

“Taylor is the finest British guitarist of his generation” – The Times of London

“Martin Taylor is one of the greatest and most impressive guitar players in the world.” – Chet Atkins

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Honours & Awards

1985   Music Retailer’s Association Award For Excellence

1987   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1987   Grammy Nomination: Best Country Instrumental, ‘Together At Last’ (Grappelli-Clements)

1988   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1989   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1990   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1991   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1993   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1995   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1997   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1997   British Jazz Awards, Best Small Group: Martin Taylor’s Spirit of Django

1998   Freedom of the City of London

1999   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

1999   British Academy of Composers and Songwriters ‘Gold Badge of Merit’

1999   Honorary Doctorate University of the West of Scotland

2001   British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

2002   Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), awarded by HM the Queen for Services to Music

2002   International Guitar Foundation, Best Album: Solo

2003   Pioneer to the Life of the Nation, awarded by HM the Queen

2005   Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, City of London

2007  BBC Radio 2 ‘Heart Of Jazz’ Award

2007  British Jazz Awards, Best Guitarist

2007   Lifetime Achievement Award NWJS

2008   International Association For Jazz Education, Outstanding Service to Jazz Education

2010   Honorary Doctorate Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

2012   Scottish Jazz Awards, Best Live Jazz

2012   Lifetime Achievement Award, Ards International Guitar Festival