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5 Minutes With Martin Taylor & Ulf Wakenius

You’ve had the opportunity to work with the last great generation of jazz artists. That makes you both the current generation of greats. What comes after this? Have you seen any young talents who can live up to jazz guitar?

Martin: With guitar players, there’s a great young guitar player in California whom I’ve known since he was 12, Julian Lage. He’s a fantastic guitar player. One of the most exciting musicians in the world right now is Jacob Collier. He’s jut a phenomenal musician. He can play many, many instruments and he sings. There are many fantastic musicians around and I don’t think we have to worry about the future.

In your own personal capacities, are you mentoring anyone?

Ulf: I’m mentoring my son. I play guitar duets with my son all the time. He grew up listening to me rehearsing.

Martin: I have my own online guitar school based in California. Any given time I have 600 or 700 students around the world.

Do they all want to be rock stars? Is jazz still ‘sexy’?

Martin: In the UK, there was jazz and folk and blues – they’re all quite interconnected. For instance, the Who started out as a Jazz band. Roger Daltrey played trombone. There wasn’t such a division at that time. For example I played in Bill Wyman’s (of The Rolling Stones) band. He came from that era of jazz in the UK.

But things are a lot different now. How do jazz artists get discovered?

Ulf: A really important aspect is we are the pre-internet generation. That’s the divide. Internet is a double-edged sword. Many opportunities, but it also kills a lot. The record business is almost gone now. Streaming is killing it. At the same time, you get out a lot of your own things. In our days, you have to go to recording studio. And one guy is like the king – he can make or break you. Today you can create your own destiny.

So its not all doom and gloom?

Martin: I think it’s very good. Everything has changed; it’s completely different. When I get young musicians asking my advice on how to start their careers. I say, “Well, you can’t ask me what I did, because what I did doesn’t exist anymore.” It’s completely different. I think right now we live in a very exciting time. A lot of musicians from our generation are quite depressed about everything (laughs). We live in an amazing time, we have to embrace that.

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