Schenectady Calling celebrates the singular legacy of Shetland guitar hero ‘Peerie’ Willie Johnson (1920-2007). He was a pioneer of folk/jazz fusion long before such terms were invented. As immortalised in the song “Schenectady Calling Peerie Willie Johnson”, penned by the late Michael Marra, Johnson forged a unique style of accompaniment to Shetland fiddle music. He was inspired by hearing the music of Eddie Lang and Django Reinhardt on US radio, via his home-built shortwave set.
His influence subsequently reached far beyond Shetland, extending not least to tonight’s headline guest Martin Taylor. Martin is arguably the world’s greatest solo jazz guitarist, and cites Johnson among his key inspirations. Also on the bill is a double act of thrilling duo collaborations, with acclaimed jazz pianist Dave Milligan and Shetland-born saxophonist Norman Willmore. As well as top Shetland fiddler Bryan Gear with pianist Violet Tulloch.