emmanual and taylor. Stunning acoustic guitar duets by two masters of the instrument – coming from two different directions, Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor find common ground covering jazz standards and more....
The Colonel and The Governor
Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor
Mesa / Bluemoon Recordings
14 tracks / 61:30

"It was a fun and challenging album to make," says Tommy Emmanuel of The Colonel and The Governor, the fourteen song collection of acoustic duets performed by Tommy and Martin Taylor. From the listener's standpoint it's all fun – the only possible challenge would be to find an equal amount of guitar wizardry on any other album released this year (I know we're only into March, but trust me.....).

With Emmanuel coming from a rock and country background and Taylor being somewhat of a jazz prodigy (to the point of being a 'young Django' to jazz violin legend Stephane Grappelli), the duo cook up a sweet and savory mix so technically brilliant - yet so viscerally potent – that it will please the aural palate of any audience.

Both guitarists' instruments are miked and plugged in and we get to hear the musicians reacting, sometimes seemingly with surprise, to each other and even to themselves. On "Bernie's Tune" we hear Emmanuel laugh at his own soloing when he throws in a few deliciously dissonant licks. "How about a key change?" can be heard, just before a capo is adjusted on the Caribbean-flavored "Down at Cocomo's." The session, while musically brilliant, is loose and swinging. The two guitarists trade off on rhythm and lead, occasionally (like on "Lullaby of Birdland") breaking into simultaneous solo lines for a few stunning bars before jumping back into the song full-strength.

Emmanuel having been twice voted best acoustic guitarist by Guitar Player Magazine's readers' poll, and Taylor having been dubbed 'the acoustic guitarist of his generation,' by Acoustic Guitar magazine, crackle with creative energy yet manage to make it sound as easy as breathing in and breathing out - this free-swinging project brings the two legends together and wisely lets the magic just happen.

Covering classic jazz tunes, some pop ("I Won't Last a Day Without You") and at least one original, The Colonel and The Governor is an hour of music by two master guitarists at their best. The music is unmistakably jazz but is infused with plenty of blues and risky, swinging solos. Well recorded, engaging and stunningly performed, this is a treat for anyone who loves the standards, and for guitar-lovers in particular.

-Bert Saraco

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