If you are fan of the guitar, flamenco, jazz and folk then the DVD Guitar Nights Proudly Presents The Four Martins
is for you. The DVD is a live concert featuring English folk stars Martin Simpson and Martin Carthy together with great Scottish jazz guitarist Martin Taylor and flamenco virtuoso Juan Martin. These four guitarists are brilliant guitarist and composers. Together they all bring their own different backgrounds and styles along with their uniqueness to create some very beautiful and exciting music for the guitar. The guitar in itself is a unique instrument, capable a being a melodic, harmonic and percussion instrument all at the same time. For many tunes on the DVD there are 24 strings being played at one time. It really takes true skill and musical elagentness to make this work.
The DVD is a live show of the group The Four Martins
performing together and individually. Each guitarist gets there moment in the spotlight but some of the most exciting material is when all four guitarist are together. The first tune on the DVD is La Passion Del Lamento, a flamenco tune with Juan opening with chords and Martin Simpson answering with a slide melody, almost emulating a flamenco singer. As the song progresses Juan and Carthy lay down a wonderful flamenco groove with Simpson and Taylor carrying the melody. Taylor later will solo over the groove with some very nice jazz lines. It is a very well composed piece with very fine performances by all four guitarists. Other nice contributions featuring the quartet are Vuelo, a flamenco rooted tune with a Celtic folk taste (each guitarists roots are firmly on display here). The final tune is a blues entitled Barrack Street Strut. The four Europeans could definitely hold their own in a country bar in Texas. The solo performances on the disc are all extremely impressive and also they are vastly different. Martin Taylor’s Kwame/Kiko is a solo guitar performance of an original composition with roots in jazz and South African music. Martin Simpson’s Jasper Songbird is a solo slide guitar song with almost harp-like effects that leads into a lovely folk tune called Songbird. Martin Carthy’s Glass of Water is a unique folk tune in 7/4, beautifully sang by Carthy and arranged for the entire ensemble.
The DVD also contains biographies of each of the guitarists, interviews, photos and a short guitar lesson with Martin Taylor. It is wonderful presentations from four guitarist that may not be as widely know as say McLaughlin, DiMeola, and De Lucia, but that does not mean their music is any less beautiful or amazing. Well-done Four Martins.