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International Guitar Night brings in acts large and small

| Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 7:29 p.m.
Guitarist Martin Taylor Credit: Simon Murphy

Guitarist Martin Taylor is pleased with the success he has found in letting his music expand into a smaller size.

The string virtuoso, who will be at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on Friday, says the “jazz word was something of a hindrance” to his career, so he moved away from the small-group playing of that genre.

“I let my music expand into a solo nature,” the Scotland native says, chuckling over the irony of the sizing.

Taylor will be in the North Side on Friday as part of International Guitar Night, a touring show that displays broadly varied styles of acoustic guitar playing. While the performers in the show play individually, they also find music they can perform together, which considering their great differences is not always easy.

The show, organized by guitarist Brian Gore, has been taking place since 1995, and this is Taylor's third stint as a member of the group.

The shows feature:

• Gore, a specialist on Michael Hedges-like fingerstyle, who Taylor calls a “poet of the guitar”

• Solorazaf, a player from Madagascar who adds wordless vocals and foot percussion to his work

• Celso Machado, who performs many of the styles of his native Brazil

• Taylor, whose work still is filled with many jazz styles.

The tour will visit 26 cities in about a month of touring.

Taylor, who once performed with legendary violinist Stephane Grappelli, is busy in his work, solo or otherwise. His “Spirit of Django Orchestral Suite” was performed as part of the BBC Proms concerts at Royal Albert Hall in August. He has been on tour by himself and with the guitar series since then and is looking ahead to two tours with Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel that will span the world before they are finished.

Taylor also has a new album coming out the beginning of March.

He says he enjoys playing in the classic jazz setting, but decided to move to the solo style because it opened up the way he could play. Many jazz guitarists are defined by the theme-solo-theme nature of jazz, so they can't explore a wider nature of the guitar.

His solo work, although still jazz-flavored, allows him to stretch out more, he says, adding he is pleased that work has been so easy to sell.

Taylor looks at Guitar Night as displaying the broadening interest in types of music.

The shows are in all sorts of venues, he says, and attract an audience interested in many types of music. He says he sees that sort of wider attendance happening in many jazz clubs that are becoming “general music venues” more than serving one genre.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

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