Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ron Moore 1923 - 2009

The guitar world has lost one of our most loved and respected guitarists, Ron Moore

Ron was a fine jazz and classical guitarist. He was a superb teacher too.
Hugh Burns, David Russell, Jim Mullen, John Goldie, are just a few of the world class players that studied with Ron.

He will be sadly missed

English Hotel Sadness!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Car Dealers

It's cold and wet outside so I decided to go through some boxes of old photos.
Here's a cracker of me and my pal Marcus. We look like two very dodgey secondhand car dealers closing in on a deal!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Log Fires in Rural France

Mrs T and I have been at our house in France doing nothing in particular for the past week.
I love making log fires (Liz says it's the Romany in me) and Mrs T loves roasting herself next to them. Very cozy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Albert Lee

I've met up a couple of times lately with my Gypsy cousin Albert Lee. Albert's on tour with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings at the moment.

We both played together in the Rhythm Kings when Bill first formed the band.

It was good to trade a few licks with Albert at the Royal Albert Hall in London then later at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Albert is one of the all time great guitarists. He's the Charlie Parker of country guitar playing!


I just wanted to share this photo with you that my friend Marcus Ford sent me.

It was taken in the dining room at my old house in Ayrshire around 10 years ago.

From left to right is Tom Torrance, me, guitar legend Ron Moore, Marcus, and my oldest pal Danny Godfrey.

The guitars and mandolins are an assortment of Gibsons, Epiphones, Martin's and Vandens. We had some great dinner parties in that room.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Wish - Sri Lankan Charity

I'm patron of "My Wish" a charity that gives help and support to terminally ill children and their families in Sri Lanka.

We recently had our first charity fundraising event at the Killermont Polo Club in Glasgow.

The Killermont Polo Club is an Indian restaurant just around the corner from Scotland's Buddhist Vihara which is a central meeting place for Glasgow's Sri Lankan community.

The evening was opened by Venerable Rewarta leading a traditional lamp lighting ceremony, then after opening speeches from the charity founder Nelum Jayakody and vihara trustee Ian Paton, there was a short video presentation.

I played a set with guitarist Marcus Ford and Alison Burns. The music was followed by an auction which raised around £2,000.

It was our first fundraiser and we are planning more for the future.

Photo: Martin, Nelum and Marcus

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guitar Label Showcase

I played at The Guitar Label Showcase at the RSAMD in Glasgow last Sunday with Mili, Marcus Bonfanti and Clive Carroll.
It was really good to play a concert with all the guitarists from The Guitar Label.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dundee Jazz Festival

I'm in Scotland for a couple of shows. Alison Burns and I have just played at the Dundee Jazz Festival and I'm playing at The Big Guitar Weekend in Glasgow tonight at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"My Life in Five Songs" - BBC Scotland

I was at the BBC studios in Edinburgh recently recording a radio show with Phil Cunningham called "My Life in Five Songs" for BBC Radio Scotland.

The show is presented by Phil, and each week he invites a musician into the studio to talk about five songs that have been important in their lives.

The show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at 11.30am Tuesday 17th November, and repeated at 06.05 on Saturday 21st November. It will also be available online as a PodCast on BBCiPlayer for one week after broadcast.

It was good to be Phil's guest and talk about various times in my life and the effect music has had in my life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mentoring Sessions

I have a small group of guitar students that visit me once in a while for mentoring, advise, and help with various aspects of guitar playing and musical development.

They're all really excellent players, some of them have been playing guitar for a long time, and nearly all are already professional guitarists.

Most of the time I get them to look at music from a slightly different angle and free them up from any musical or technical difficulties that they are having.

I do this by freeing their minds from all the "stuff" that guitarists have to learn in order to play the instrument at a very high level and put it to one side.

I get them to play the guitar, rather than have the guitar play them, and develop a natural musical flow and close relationship with the instrument.

In a very short time I can get them to play all the ideas that come into their heads without that terrible block that comes halfway between the brain and the guitar.

I'm a kind of guitar analyst or "shrink" as most of the work we do together is to do with adjusting the mindset.

I always tell my students that "I make guitarists into musicians"

I have several really good young students. This photo is of Gary Mullins who braved the freezing cold November weather to fly up to Scotland from Aylesbury for a mentoring session at the studio. Gary has already embarked on a musical career and I'm sure his talent and dedication will lead him on to a very successful career in music.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Remembrance Sunday

Please don't forget to pay your respects on Remembrance Sunday
"Sabbe Satta Bhavantu Sukhitatta"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I had a great time in London last saturday. I played a concert with Martin Simpson and Clive Carroll at King's Place which is a wonderful new 400+ seat concert venue near King's Cross. It's a great venue.

After the show I dashed across town to the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane where my good friend Pat Tarley was celebrating her 80th birthday with family and friends.

Pat and I used to work together in various West End venues in the 1970's. She's a wonderful singer and beautiful person.

Her son Russell was there with his band, so we managed a jam session at the end of the evening. Alison also joined us for a song. A really magic evening with old friends.

Monday, November 2, 2009

FREE Spirit of Django Download

Hi everyone...

Just to let you know you can now download the title track from the new Martin Taylor's Spirit of Django album "Last Train to Hauteville" for FREE exclusively from this link

The album won't be released until next April, so this is just a little taste of what is definately the best Spirit of Django album ever.

If you like Spirit of Django, then you'll LOVE this!

Enjoy's FREE!!!

Best Wishes

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Garden Kuti Blessing

On 20th October (my 53rd birthday) my Garden Meditation Kuti was blessed by Venerable Sri K. Rewatha - Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain.

"Bhante" presented me with a traditional Sri Lankan Buddha statue as a birthday present which is now the centre piece of the kuti.

Liz, James, Alison and I spent a wonderful two days with Bhante and were able to show him some of the spectacular Highland scenery near our house.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Royal Albert Hall, London

I played the opening set of the PRS Charity concert at London's Royal Albert Hall with my band "Spirit of Django" last Sunday.

We played the title track from our new CD "Last Train to Hauteville" and then launched into "La Mer" with Alison Burns on vocals.

Robin Nolan joined me on stage after that, and we played a tune for his new son who was born just minutes before we went on stage!

I was invited to play the show by my old friend Bill Wyman. Bill was there with his band The Rhythm Kings and other artists on the show were Ronnie Wood, Mick Hucknell, Melanie C, Kiki Dee, Rick Wakeman, Georgie Fame....

A FREE download of "Last Train to Hauteville" is now available from my website

This photo was taken backstage after the show with Bill Wyman, and the rhythm guitarist from "Spirit of Django", John Goldie.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Enjoying some time off at home........

Friday, October 9, 2009

TV Documentary

I'm back in the studio today doing a short piece for a TV documentary.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spirit of Django

The new Spirit of Django CD has now been mixed and mastered.
On October 25th we play on a big chartity concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London which will be a sneak preview of the new recording.

The CD will be released in April 2010 and will be followed by the band playing concerts and festivals throughout the year.

This is the best Spirit of Django recording yet. I'm very proud of it and look forward to touring with the band again next year.

The band lineup is: Martin Taylor (gtr), Jack Emblow (acc), Alison Burns (voc), Alan Barnes (clarinet & sop sax), James Taylor (perc), John Goldie (rythm gtr), Terry Gregory (acc bs gtr)

By the way...the photo at the top of this blog isn't the album cover! It was in my dressing room at one of my recent concerts in Germany and I just liked it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gypsy Festivals in Germany

I've spent the last 3 weeks chilling out at my house in France.
During that time I also went to Germany to play 3 shows with my old friend the Gypsy pianist Jermaine Landsberger.
The first show was in Landau, then we played at the Birdland Jazz Club in Neuberg.
The last show was in Mannheim at the "Romano Keir", a cultural centre for Sinti and Roma Gypsies.
They also asked me to give a talk about Django Reinhardt, my years working with Stephane Grappelli, and my own British Gypsy family heritage.
Jermaine and I were joined by Davide Pettrocca on bass, and Sebastian de Krom on drums.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Spirit of Django Recording

I've been working on my new Spirit of Django CD for the past month and haven't ventured much outside the studio during that time except to play a few concerts in Norway and Scotland.
The record is now mixed, and will be mastered next month.
The release date is around April/May 2010, but the exact date hasn't been decided yet.
I wrote 8 of the 12 tracks, which meant quite alot more work for me, so I'm relieved it's all finished now and I don't have anymore sleepless nights worrying about things like ideas for resolving middle 8 sections and codas!
I'm delighted with the results and look forward to the album launch and touring with the band again in 2010.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stephane Grappelli - New Orleans 1986

Here's a video I found on YouTube of a show I did in New Orleans with Stephane Grappelli many years ago.

It says it was filmed in 1984, however, I think it was 1986.

I was 30 years old at the time, and very proud of that suit and very hip white shoes that laced up at the sides. It was filmed quite well, but I think the sound engineer had his ears painted on.

We were told by our US agent at the time that it was only being filmed for local TV, but since then it has appeared on many TV stations around the world, been released as a video, then on DVD.

Stephane, myself, Marc Fosset and Patrice Caratini never recieved the fee we were promised. That's show buisiness folks!

Enjoy it.......this one's on me!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Le Weekend

I've just played two great shows with the French guitar virtuoso Sylvain Luc. He's incredible, and really kept me on my toes. However, my musical muscles are a bit tired after such a hard workout, and I've retreated to my Buddhist Kuti at the bottom of my garden to rid my mind of all those altered diminished inversions and meditate on suffering, impermanence, and non-self.
I will probably re-appear into daylight some time after "Le Weekend" fully recovered and ready to take on Monsieur Luc again. En garde et courage mon brave!

Dinner with Jennifer

I had dinner with my niece Jennifer a couple of nights ago when I was playing at Oran Mor in Glasgow. She's doing well singing in a couple of bands. Not well enough though to stop her uncle from picking up the tab at the end of the night. Some things never change!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shows in Scotland

I'm in Scotland for 3 shows. Last Saturday Alison Burns and I played a really enjoyable concert at Oran Mor, Glasgow.
On Tuesday 4th I'm playing at the Nairn Jazz Festival with the French guitar virtuoso Sylvain Luc, then the next evening Sylvain and I are playing at The Hub in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival.
I can tell I'm back home because everyone's moaning about the rain, despite the fact that the sun is shining and I'm writing this sitting in my garden in a t-shirt drinking a cup of tea. I must live is some kind of paralel universe to everybody else in this country because the weather is beautiful.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Simpson/Taylor song "One Day"

Stewart Iain Taylor 1984 - 2005

My pal Martin Simpson has just released a new CD "True Stories" on Topic Records. Everyone is going wild about the track that Martin and I wrote together "One Day".

It started out as a melody that I wrote after my son Stewart died in 2005. I tried to put a few lyrics to it but then decided to ask Martin to build on the melody and the opening lyrics that I'd already written. He wrote the most profound, and as the critic from fROOTS magazine has said "a song of such exposed pain"

Martin, with the help of the legendary Danny Thompson on bass has turned the song into a magical masterpiece.

We're quite overwhelmed by the critical acclaim that One Day is getting from the music press.

Here's details....

Martin Simpson - True Stories
Topic Records Ltd TSCD578

Carol & Mark Bailey

I've been to visit my friends Mark and Carol Bailey at Bailey Guitars. I've given Mark one of my old guitars to totally customize.
I told him just to let his imagination run wild and he's making something that's going to be very special. Watch this space!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Barney Kessel 1991

The photograpeher Robert Burns has just sent me this photo of Barney Kessel and I in concert in January 1991.
It was so nice to have this reminder of those great times I spent working with Barney.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Airports & Other Nightmares

Air travel is becoming more and more unpleasent. Airlines treat you like you are some kind of irritation that's come along to spoil their day. Gone are the days when you were treated as valued customers.

Airport security staff always make a big show that they're doing such a great job when in actual fact they seem to me to be fairly incompetent. The important thing for them is to look like they're efficient, which is why, I can only guess, they stop little old ladies and elderly vicars and put them through the full search treatment. It doesn't impress me, and it certainly doesn't make me feel safer.

Ok, ok...I've had my moan and minor rant. On a positive's always great when I'm in the middle of one of my airport nightmares to bump into fellow troubadours. This photo was taken last week at Stockholm Airport (a surprisingly pleasant place with very helpful staff) with Robin Nolan, Nomi Rosenburg, our Swedish promoter Svante, and the rest of the Djangofest gang.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Life in the Bus Lane

The garden in Scotland is starting to look good. The plants are starting to grow, and Baxter is enjoying leaving messages all over the place. I'm enjoying having time off from touring and living life in the bus lane. Rock n' Roll!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My old friend Danny Godfrey came to see me today. Danny and I first met in the 1970's. He's been a big jazz fan for years and we used to have some great jazz nights at Danny's house in Glasgow. There would always be a few musicians there and we'd play music well into the wee small hours. Great sessions. Danny also introduced me to golf many years ago, and I've been annoying myself with my trusty "Mashie Niblick" eversince.

He's now enjoying his retirement as a gentleman of leisure.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Djangofest, Sweden

Just back from Eskilstuna, Sweden where I played a set with Andreas Oberg at the Djangofest.

I met up with Robin Nolan. I haven't seen Robin in years. We first met about 25 years ago when he was a young lad who came up to me and asked if he could play a tune with me at the end of my set.

We played a blues together, and he played some tasteful blues licks on his Gibson Les Paul. A couple of years later he sent me his first CD. He'd completely changed musical direction and was playing Django style.
Robin is now one of the top exponents of Gypsy Jazz Guitar. A great player.

This is a photo of us at Amsterdam Airport on our way back from Sweden.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lamp Ceremony

I was asked to be the representative for Scotland's Buddhist Vihara by lighting a lamp at a ceremony with Venerable Rewartha.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Students and early flights

I have a small group of guitarists that visit me from time to time for advise and guidance about guitar playing. I enjoy doing these mentoring sessions, and I have some very good students. I've just spent two days in the studio with a couple of students who flew in from Norway.

I'm back on the road tomorrow. I have to leave home at 3.30am to take a flight to Stockholm via Amsterdam to play at the Djangofest in Eskilstuna, Sweden - it's going to be a very long day!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Raj in Toronto

I've just got back from playing two solo shows in Canada. The first was at Hugh's Room in Toronto where I met up with my old friend from Colombo Raj Jalaldeen who's been living in Toronto for the past nine years. Raj is a fine jazz guitarist who I've known for almost 20 years.

My second show was at Festival de Gittare du Monde at Rouyn Noranda, Quebec. Both shows were fantastic, the audiences were so warm and enthusiastic. I had a great time.

It was a short, and pretty hectic trip, which involved four flights to get home in time to re-pack for my next show in Sweden.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the Scottish sunshine in my garden.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bicylces & Buddhists

James took part in the Etape Caledonian Cycle Race yesterday. It's an 81 mile race through Highland Perthshire. At one point it looked as if it would have to be abandoned because of an act of sabotage.
Hundreds of carpet tacks had been spread across one section of the road, causing several accidents.
There has been some local opposition to the race because some roads are closed for the event, and one group objected because it was being held on a sunday.
Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured and the race was only held up for 45 minutes. James' time was just over 4 hours. He looks amazingly fresh in the photo taken at the finishing line.

I decided to have a far more chilled out day and went along to the Wesak Celebrations at the Hidden Gardens in Glasgow.
Wesak is the Buddhist New Year and this particular event brings together Scottish Buddhists af all traditions.
I was asked to represent Scotland's Buddhist Vihara, which is the Theravadin tradition, at the opening ceremony. Venerable Rewatha headed the proceedings carrying a small Bodhi tree.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Mr Baxter's Highland Holiday

Question: What does a dog do on his day off?

Mr Baxter is currently enjoying a well deserved rest in the Highlands.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I was starting to get a bit bored with having all this time off so I've decided to take a holiday from the time off. I'll be back next week.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Gypsy Cousins

I met my cousin Jim Pitts recently when I was in the south of England playing a gig for Big Jim Sullivan. Jim is a great blues singer.

We're going to be taking part in a memorial concert later this year at Hartlake Church in Kent as part of the Hartlake Tragedy Commerations.

In the 1850's a wagon carrying Romany Gypsy people, who were working there hop picking, went over Hartlake Bridge. The horse bolted and everyone was drowned.

Many of the people that were drowned in the tragedy were Taylor's. Jim and I are descendents of those Taylor's. I can remember my grandmother telling me this story and how many of my grandfather's family were killed in the tragedy.

What is very interesting is how many of us descendents are musicians. It will be good for us to remember our family by getting together and playing music.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Amazing Lisa

I'm always surprised when people come up to me after shows and ask me to sign old vinyl records that I made 30 years ago, sometimes they even have old concert programmes and posters for me to sign.

Lisa is an old friend of mine from Florida. A number of years ago she was in a terrible car crash that left her paralysed, and she's been in a wheelchair ever since. As Lisa poetically puts it "It's a damn long time to be sittin' on yer ass!"

Lisa is made of tough stuff, and now enjoys a wonderful life with her husband in a beautiful house by a lake in Florida.

She now has her own very successful international business designing wheelchair wheel rims. Many have been used by ParaOlympians.

So, knowing Lisa as I do, I wasn't at all surprised when she showed up at my concert in Washington DC last year with my mug enblazened on each wheel of her chair for me to sign.

The Amazing Lisa.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Woman's Hour in the Garden

I'm enjoying our garden today. I don't think the cherry blossoms are going to last for much longer, so I'm enjoying them while they last, and contemplating their impermanence in a Zen like manner over a cup of equally impermament tea.

I'm enjoying being off the road. Once I get started again it's going to be fairly intense, so I've got my feet up with a cup of char and BBC Radio 4.

Isn't "Woman's Hour" brilliant?! I was interviewed on it once by the lovely Jenny Murray. Not alot of people know that.....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hank Marvin

I played at the Darvel Music Festival a couple of nights ago. I put a band together with Alison on vocals, James on Drums, Chris Hill on bass and David Newton on piano. We had a really terrific night. The audience was great and it was good for me to be back in Ayrshire again, my old home territory in south west Scotland.

I forgot to take my camera to take a photo for my blog, so here's a photo I made earlier!....Alison and I in Perth, Australia with our good friend Hank Marvin.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ven. K. Rewartha Thero

I've been visiting my friend Ven. Rewartha in Glasgow. He is the Sangha Nayaka (Head Monk) of Scotland, and soon to be of the UK.
We're talking about setting up a music charity for orphaned children in his home village in Sri Lanka.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Graduation Day

We're just back from London where we attended James' graduation. He's now an MBA (Masters in Business Administration)

We also had a great meal at Locatelli's restaurant to celebrate. It was a great day.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adoring fans

It's been so long since my last gig - here's a photo I took from the stage of my last audience.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dinner with Mrs T

Mrs T and I had a very nice meal last night at a restaurant in the Highlands, not very far from our home.
Baxter was highly delighted with the doggy bag we brought back for him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sri Lanka

Looking out of the window at a grey Scottish sky and thinking about Sri Lanka.

I have a great fondness for Sri Lanka, and am shocked by the news and terrible images that have been on TV these past few weeks. The aweful suffering in the north of the country is just beyond words.

I had such a wonderful time there earlier this year, and I hope to go back again next year to see the many Sri Lankan friends that I have made over the past 15 years of visiting the country.

In the meantime, Sri Lanka, and my Sri Lankan friends are very much in my thoughts.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Beard Has Gone!

Well, after 35 years of having a beard and moustache I decided to shave it all off.

I was a little scared to see who was lurking under there, as the last face I saw was that of a mere youth. It came as a shock to see for the first time the middle aged man that has developed under there during that time, but I'm getting used to it.

Here's a photo with my student Rabo Lueng from Hong Kong. I'm the fresh faced young man on the left.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Elephant Painting

Alison and I were touring Australia, Sri Lanka and Thailand earlier this year.

When we were in Bangkok our promoter took us to a few tourist places on our day off.

We went to a place where an elephant painted a picture of flowers for me. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

Check this photo out!

I'm putting up some older photos at the moment because I'm spending a very quite time at home. It's great for me but pretty boring for you to read about.

Liz and I went to visit our meditation teacher, Venerable K. Rewartha Thero last night.

He's a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk who's been living in Scotland for the past 7 years. He's an excellent teacher. I've been practising Buddhist meditation for over 30 years, but I'm learning so much from him.

My next project for this summer is to build our own wee temple in our garden. It will be a quite corner to got to, and will probably be the smallest temple in Scotland!

I'll start posting photos of it when it's being built. Should be fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Paul Merton Show

I'm at home writing music today for my new CD. The process of writing music isn't as interesting as it may sound, just hard work. There's no mystery to it, it's just gathering 40+ years of musical knowledge together and creating something that I'd be happy for people to listen to.

Will take Baxter for a walk later to give my brain a rest, then tonight I'm going to see Paul Merton in his "Silent Clowns" show. I've seen it before and it's wonderful. I'm a big fan of his, but for me the star of this show is the pianist Neil Brand who improvises the music to the film - absolutely brilliant, he's a genius!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Meaning of Life...and other stuff!

Have been in Dresden, Germany for the past two days. I was a judge at the International Guitar Awards and heard some wonderful young guitarists.

I played a solo concert in the evening in the University concert hall. A great room with a fantastic sound.

I'm back in Scotland for a few days to chill out at home in front of my Japanese Buddha and contemplate the meaning of life.