Taylor & Burns celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s music

Courtesy photo Celebrated jazz guitarist Martin Taylor (right) and singer Alison Burns will collaborate for a special show featuring the music of Ella Fitzgerald at The Palms on Saturday, Nov. 18.

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Grammy-nominated musician  Martin Taylor, MBE, is a virtuoso guitarist, composer, educator and musical innovator whom Acoustic Guitar magazine called  “THE acoustic guitarist of his generation.” Alison Burns is a golden-voiced singer with a deep feeling for the Great American Songbook. On Saturday, Nov. 18, Taylor and Burns will perform a concert on Saturday, Nov. 18, at The Palms Playhouse celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Widely considered the world’s foremost exponent of solo jazz and fingerstyle guitar, Taylor possesses an inimitable style that has earned him global acclaim. He dazzles audiences with a signature style that artfully combines his virtuosity, emotion and humor with a strong, engaging stage presence.

Taylor’s career spans five decades, with more than 100 recordings to his credit. Completely self-taught beginning at the early age of 4, he has invented and developed a unique way of playing the guitar in which he provides the bass and chordal accompaniment in addition to the melody. This style is admired, and often emulated, by guitarists all over the world.

Taylor’s big break came when jazz violinist Stèphane Grappelli (of Hot Club de Paris fame) selected him to fill the role once held by pioneering jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt in Grappelli’s band. Taylor toured with Grappelli for 11 years before focusing on solo work.

In addition to his solo concerts and recordings and earlier work with Grappelli, Taylor has collaborated with musicians from many genres including George Harrison, Chet Atkins, David Grisman, Jeff Beck, Tommy Emmanuel, Dianne Schuur, Bill Wyman, Jamie Cullum, Bryn Terfel and Gary Burton.

Taylor has amassed a record 15 British Jazz Awards, has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall, and had several of his albums chart in the Top 10 in the USA and Europe. In 2002, Queen Elizabeth awarded him Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for Services to Music.

When Taylor decided to record a special duo album with a vocalist he chose the UK’s fastest rising jazz singer: Alison Burns.

Burns is the rare singer who brings her love, heartaches and joy to the microphone, breathing real life into the music.

Although she grew up in Dundee, Scotland, the music of the Great American Songbook and classic recordings by Peggy Lee, Lena Horne and Bessie Smith provided the soundtrack of Burns’ childhood and remain her abiding musical love.

Although Burns had toured and recorded with bands performing a range of styles, she opted for the music that’s her root when she recorded her first solo album. “Kissing Bug,” released in 2007, received widespread acclaim and became the first album by a Scottish jazz singer to reach the Jazz Top 10.

Despite the smoky eyes, rich voice and assured stage presence, there’s little of the jazz diva about Burns. Possessing a robust sense of humor, she can both shine in the limelight and knit collaborations together.

Burns has played jazz festivals and venues across the globe, both with her own group and guesting with Martin Taylor. These shows planted the seed for the Martin & Burns album “1 AM.” Produced by Tony Platt (Bob Marley, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy), “1 AM” takes inspiration from the collaboration between great jazz and pop songstress Ella Fitzgerald and guitarist Joe Pass, and mixes repertoire from The Great American Songbook with contemporary material from Stevie Wonder and James Taylor.

At Saturday’s concert, Martin and Burns will celebrate the music of Ella Fitzgerald, who was born 100 years ago this year.

Tickets for Martin Taylor & Alison Burns’ Saturday, Nov. 18 “Ella @ 100” show at The Palms Playhouse (13 Main Street in Winters) are $25 and are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online at The Palms’ website and at the door if not sold out.

For more information, visit martintaylor.com, alisonburns.com and palmsplayhouse.com.

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