Martin Taylor, jazz guitarist, is interviewed before a performance at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow.
His father, William “Buck” Taylor, was also an accomplished jazz musician, and “was very encouraging about playing the guitar”.
That side of the family were travelling people, several of them musicians, and his mother’s family was also musical. “There’s the musician gene in both sides of the family,” Taylor says. “You always find that people who play music will always tell you that there was somebody somewhere down the line that played music.”
Taylor spends part of his time in France, where he works with jazz violinist Didier Lockwood and bass player Jean-Phillipe Viret. All three used to work with Stéphane Grappelli.
“I work with a number of people,” says Taylor. “I made an album with Bryn Terfel. It’s when they wanted to bring some kind of jazz element to what they were doing, but also knowing how to do it in a certain way so that it doesn’t just overpower the essence of the music but just brings a jazz element in there.”
The Celtic Connections concert saw Taylor accompany various Shetland musicians. “I sit there and try not to get too much in the way and if I can add something that will make it sound good, I’ll play it.”
Taylor was awarded an honorary doctorate by Paisley University in 1999, and was made an MBE in 2002.