Friday, October 1, 2010

Martin Taylor - Nitelife

Martin Taylor has done his share of label-hopping; after recording for labels that range from Linn to Milestone/Fantasy, the guitarist joins the Columbia roster with 2001's Nitelife. Produced by Steve Buckingham and Kirk Whalum, Nitelife  is one of Taylor's more commercial efforts. Jazz is often blended with pop and R&B, and much of the CD is obviously aimed at the NAC/smooth jazz market. But Nitelife isn't without integrity. Although uneven and inconsistent -- there are a few throwaways here and there -- the album has more plusses than minuses. Nitelife's most memorable offerings range from the Celtic-influenced "Across the Pond" (a Taylor original) to sensitive interpretations of Hoagy Carmichael's "I Get Along Without You Very Well" and Edith Piaf's "Hymne a l'Amour" (a French standard that American jazz artists have tended to overlook). Unfortunately, the producers really louse things up on Dionne Warwick's 1979 hit "Deja Vu" -- Taylor's playing is fine, but Buckingham and Whalum  make the mistake of overdubbing a programmed reggae/hip-hop beat. The end result is a major train wreck; the programmed groove might have worked on something funkier and more aggressive, but Taylor's take on "Deja Vu" is too introspective, too laid-back for that type of thing. His guitar solo is smothered by the production, and the same thing happens on an equally disappointing version of Earth, Wind & Fire's "That's the Way of the World." Instead of giving Taylor's guitar playing room to breath, Buckingham and Whalum insist on producing the tune to death. But on the whole, Nitelife isn't bad. Although far from one of Taylor's essential releases, Nitelife isn't the total disaster it might have been.- by Alex Henderson, AMG

Artist: Martin Taylor
Album: Nitelife
Year: 2001
Label: Sony/Columbia
Runtime: 58:03

Tracks:
1.  Chaff & Grain (Matthew Dennis McGuire) 5:48
2.  Doctor Spin (Martin Taylor/Finian Greenall) 5:29
3.  That's The Way Of The World (Charles Stepney/Maurice White/Verdine White) 5:39
4.  Deja Vu (Isaac Hayes/Adrienne Anderson) 7:17
5.  Hymne a L'Amour (Edith Piaf/Marguerite Monnot) 4:11
6.  Nitelife (Martin Taylor/Kirk Whalum) 5:35
7.  Green Lady (Martin Taylor) 4:16
8.  Beboptimism (Kirk Whalum) 5:51
9.  Across The Pond (Martin Taylor) 8:07
10.  I Get Along Without You Very Well (Hoagy Carmichael) 5:46

Personnel:
Martin Taylor (Guitar)
Kirk Whalum (Programming, Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3,6-8
Jim Reid (Soprano Saxophone) - 1,9
Chester Thompson (Drums) - 1,4,9
John Stoddart (Keyboards) - 1,6,8
Steve Buckingham (Wah Wah Guitar) - 1,6
Kristin Wilkinson (Viola) - 1,5,6,8
David Davidson (Violin) - 1,5,6,8
David Angell (Violin) - 1,5-8
Brian D. Siewert (Keyboards) - 4,7,9
David Hungate (Bass) - 4,9
Fink (Programming) - 2
Mike Durham (Electric Guitar) - 4
Monissa Angell (Viola) - 7
Jim Horn (Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxophone) - 9
Michelle Anne Williams (Vocals) - 9
Viktor Krauss (Upright Bass) - 1

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