Martin Taylor The Valley P3 Music Martin Taylor is, perhaps, the most technically adept jazz guitarist in the world, and his playing on The Valley is every bit as dazzling as we have come to expect. And there's always much more to his music than mere virtuosity. He's also a performer with considerable soul and a fine and funky sense of rhythm. And those aspects of his artistry are well to the fore here. This is a collection of unaccompanied solo performances and duets - one with fellow guitarist Simon Dinnnigan and three with vocalists. Dinnigan wrote the title track, as well as playing on it, and the thoughtful instrumental is one of the album's high points. Welsh bass baritone Bryn Terfel is brought in to sing Paul Simon's Bridge Over Troubled Water and Billie Holiday's God Bless the Child, and the late Sacha Distel contributes what must have been one of his last vocal performances on I've Got You Under My Skin. Terfel's take on Bridge Over Troubled Water does little more than demonstrate how completely the song belongs to Art Garfunkel, but the other two vocals work well and highlight Taylor's sensitive touch as an accompanist. He turns in one of the finest ballad performances of his career on Leonard Bernstein's Somewhere, on which the guitar sounds almost like a harp, and an up-tempo approach to Don't Know Why breathes new life into the overexposed Norah Jones hit. The African influenced Kwame, on which the guitar imitates a thumb piano, closes as strong set.