Gig review: Martin Taylor and Tommy Emmanuel - Queen’s Hall

IF YOU choose to release a record and then go on tour under the banner of The Colonel and The Governor, you had better be able to deliver.

Martin Taylor and Tommy Emmanuel - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

* * * *

Sign up to our daily newsletter

In the case of these two extravagantly talented guitarists, there was never going to be a shred of doubt that they would fulfil that requirement for a packed house.

I’m not sure if what they saw and heard would inspire any budding guitarists in the audience, or simply make them want to go and lie in a darkened room. Possibly both. The technical accomplishment and intricate interplay of both players was typically jaw-dropping, but it came packaged with genuine artistry and a leavening of sheer good humour. Taylor comes from a jazz background, while Emmanuel has roots in country and rock, but both can play pretty much anything, and proved the point by ranging widely across genres, moods and continents in their duo selections. Whatever the material, both are dazzlingly inventive improvisers and interpreters.

Their roots were most evident in the solo portions of the show, in which Taylor played his usual impeccably judged jazz standards and original tunes, including the haunting memorial to his son, One Day, while Emmanuel favoured a more diverse mixture, including a manic Beatles medley, a richly textured take on Secret Love, all shimmering harmonics and overtones, and a vocal contribution on a couple of thematically-related songs on the rigours of coal mining.