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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Book Review

Kiss & Tell
Martin Taylor
Autobiography of a travelling Musician
Sanctuary Publishing



I found this book an interesting read; I have followed Martin Taylorís career with much interest from his early days with Stephane Grappelli. He even did a couple of guest appearances with my Big Band, when he was not that well known on the jazz scene and it was obvious to all that here was a world class musician on his way to the top.

Throughout the book, the reader is struck by the huge amount of natural ability that he has on his chosen instrument. He can do quite easily that which is almost impossible for the average musician. He also had the good fortune to come to the notice of Stephane Grappelli at a very young age and to benefit from playing in such august company for some 11 years. He joined as a virtually unknown musician and left as a guitar superstar. Once you are in that league of course you get to know the other top musicians and life ascends to another plane.

Apart from Stephaneís death after a long and remarkable career and a period of boredom with his chosen occupation, Martinís life has generally proceeded well,

I was interested to read that his reason for playing solo guitar was that he was not happy with some of the people he had to play with. I can well believe that this may have come into the equation, but my own much more limited experience has shown that the fewer people there are in the band, the more money you get paid! Many pianist friends who do solo piano work confirm this to be true, for most however it would not be their first choice, as a way to work.

The book outlines the excellent work that his son has done as Martinís agent and manager, I am sure he must be better than the man from the Scottish Mafia I spoke to when I tried to book Martin for the Coventry jazz festival a few years ago!

The message that the book, which is a most interesting, brought clearly into focus is that to succeed in making a rewarding career as a jazz musician, three things are essential.

  1. You need enormous natural talent, practising twelve hours a day is no substitute.

  2. You need your whole family behind your endeavours.

  3. You need to concentrate entirely on what you want to do not what others may want you to do.

These three things are the main reason that most of us donít make it.

In the book Martin looks forward to the next 25 years, I hope Iím around to read it!


Don Mather


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