Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Martin Taylor's second recording with his Spirit of Django band features a star-studded guest list including the legendary violinist Stéphane Grappelli, plus Britain's leading jazz vocalist Claire Martin and pianist Brian Kellock. Originally released in 1996, 'Years Apart' has been re-issued as part of Linn's ECHO series which offers a second chance to enjoy the best of the label's award-winning catalogue. Following the success of the band's debut, 'Réunion', 'Years Apart' was also released to critical acclaim and public popularity; it won two British Jazz Award categories: 'Best Guitar' and 'Best Small Group'. Taylor and Grappelli's mutual admiration was sparked when, aged 23, the youthful prodigy joined the jazz stalwart's regular touring band; their shared virtuosity and verve drew them together. Inventive with a Gypsy flavour throughout, highlights include the easygoing ballad 'Going Home Again' and the well-crafted 'Hi Lily, Hi Lo', featuring Claire Martin - a piece rarely heard in a jazz setting. Grappelli sums up the appeal of Years Apart: 'Martin has managed to capture the true spirit of Django, yet do it in his own style.' Taylor's inimitable style, honed across five decades, has seen him recognized as the world's foremost exponent of solo jazz guitar. Taylor possesses an easy virtuosity that has earned him global acclaim from fellow musicians, fans and critics alike. Taylor is a multi-award winning guitarist whom Acoustic Guitar magazine calls 'THE acoustic guitarist of his generation'. Taylor has enjoyed a remarkable musical career with more than 100 recordings to his credit and a record 14 British Jazz Awards as a guitarist. He has collaborated Jeff Beck, Bill Wyman, Chet Atkins, Stéphane Grappelli, George Harrison, Hugh Laurie and Jamie Cullum.
Personnel: Martin Taylor (acoustic guitar); Stéphane Grappelli (violin); Claire Martin (vocals); John Goldie (acoustic guitar); Jack Emblow (accordion); Dave O'Higgins (saxophone); Gerard Presencer (flugelhorn); Terry Gregory (acoustic bass guitar); James Taylor (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Stéphane Grappelli.
Recording information: Acousti Studios, Paris, France (03/25/1996-03/27/1996); Castle Cava Studios, Pencaitland, UK (03/25/1996-03/27/1996); Wyndales House Symington, UK (03/25/1996-03/27/1996); Acousti Studios, Paris, France (03/29/1996); Castle Cava Studios, Pencaitland, UK (03/29/1996); Wyndales House Symington, UK (03/29/1996); Acousti Studios, Paris, France (04/08/1996); Castle Cava Studios, Pencaitland, UK (04/08/1996); Wyndales House Symington, UK (04/08/1996).
Arranger: Martin Taylor.
This 1996 Scottish release predates the CD Celebrating Grappelli (released under Stephane Grappelli's name shortly after his death on Dec. 1, 1997 but with Taylor, in fact, as the leader) by over a year, yet it overlaps considerably with that album. Several tracks that were dropped to make room for additional material with Grappelli are found on this disc: the easygoing ballad "Going Home Again," the Gypsy-flavored "Monti," and an additional vocal by Claire Martin on the well-crafted "Hi Lily, Hi Lo," a piece rarely heard in a jazz setting. Years Apart should be acquired instead of Celebrating Grappelli because most fans will already have the Grappelli-Taylor duets heard on the latter album, which were repeated from their earlier Linn CD, Reunion. ~ Ken Dryden