Part 3 RARE Tommy Emmanuel Interview Series (Australian Guitar Magazine Archives)

Here’s another part of the interview I did with Tommy Emmanuel for Australian Guitar Magazine.

The interview lasted about 2 hours so for the magazine it was edited into a series of parts and they came out over a couple of issues.

I’m sure at some point someone will want to write a biography of Tommy because his career and story is so interesting and inspirational.

He started working consistently as a professional musician in his family band with his siblings “The Midget Surfaries” before his teens.

Then in his late teens he moved to Sydney where he established himself as one of the most in demand guitar players both live and in the studio.

He got to play and/or record with some of the best acts in Australia.

So already at a young age he had a wealth of experience and achievements behind him.

With all this success and an established career Tommy then changed direction wanting to concentrate on his solo guitar playing.

Through constant touring and gigging Tommy then established himself as a solo act and eventually would move overseas making a name for himself everywhere he went.

Today he’s one of the world’s biggest names as a solo guitarist.

Despite his busy schedule Tommy finds time to collaborate with other great guitarists like Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.

Martin Taylor is another of the world’s great guitarists that Tommy regularly collaborates with.

I first met Martin though my teacher Ike Isaacs.

Ike and Martin had played as a duo in London when Martin was young so when Martin toured Australia for the first time he’d invite Ike up on stage and it was always great to see them jam together.

Ike had played with Stephane Grappelli for about 10 years.

Django, Taylor and Grappelli

Martin Taylor

When he retired he moved to Sydney where I met him.

Martin then replaced Ike and formed a formidable combination with Grappelli who is one of the legends of Jazz.

Stephane Grappelli had played in the groundbreaking “Hot Club De Paris” with Django Reinhardt.

Django is one of the greatest guitarists of all time, the Hendrix of his generation, so Ike and Martin in turn filled Django’s shoes as they played with Grappelli.

Like Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Taylor eventually wanted to pursue a solo guitar career and quickly established himself a successful international career.

Fortunately I landed two interviews with Martin and I actually played before him at The Basement over a couple of nights, which was quite a highlight for me to support and open for him.

Django Reinhardt

Tommy and Martin were a very natural fit.

There are plenty of clips of them playing together, eg “Bernie’s Tune” or “Honeysuckle Rose”.

They are pure master classes in both soloing but also how to accompany and play rhythm guitar.

Stephane Grappelli

Martin told me that he’d stopped inviting guitar players up to join him on stage during his shows because they often didn’t play rhythm guitar well so when Martin would solo it made him seem a weaker player.

Martin had recorded duets with Stephane Grappelli where Martin was the backing band all on his own, he’s an exceptional accompanist making Grappelli sound great, so for him playing with someone who wasn’t a strong rhythm guitarist would be frustrating.

Tommy, however, provides a strong and reliable accompaniment giving Martin a great platform to shine as he solos and vice versa.

This interview with Tommy was inspirational and I hope that comes across as you watch it.

It would be good to see the whole interview in its entirety without the edits, maybe one day we can dig it up.

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