Since its grand opening on Nov. 24, the Argyros Performing Arts Center, on Main Street in Ketchum, has hosted film festivals, concerts, dance recitals, theatrical events and even a formal gala.
Having acted as a venue for several local organizations to date, the Argyros will now be presenting its own headline event: an evening of guitar mastery with world-class English musicians Martin Taylor and Laurence Juber.
Taylor has been playing jazz guitar since boyhood. At age 15 he dropped out of school to become a full-time professional musician.
During the ensuing years, he honed his practice, eventually joining up with famed violinist Stéphane Grappelli, who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with Django Reinhardt, Taylor’s idol and primary artistic influence.
Laurence Juber first gained international acclaim as the lead guitarist of Wings alongside former Beatle Paul McCartney.
Prior to his tenure with Wings, Juber led a prolific career as a studio musician in London. During this time he contributed to many hit records and soundtracks, most famously performing the James Bond theme for 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
Pete Townsend, lead guitarist and songwriter for The Who, once concisely described the two-time Grammy Award winner as, simply, “a master.”
Both Taylor and Juber are considered among the greatest fingerstyle guitarists in the world. Now that internationally celebrated mastery will take to the stage in the Argyros’ Tierney Theater.
Though this will be their first time performing in Sun Valley, it’s far from their first time playing together. Juber said he and Taylor get together for tours every few years.
“It’s a joy to be able to get up on stage with someone of Martin’s caliber,” Juber said.
With two such accomplished guitarists, the inaugural performance of The Argyros Presents series promises to start off 2019 with a bang.
The two will open and close the show together, each playing individual sets in the middle. The program will consist of a healthy mix of genres, original compositions and familiar classics.
“The main thing that [Taylor and I] truly have in common—beyond the fact that we’re obsessed with the guitar—is that we identify as musicians who play the guitar, rather than guitarists who make music,” Juber said.
While both Taylor and Juber are often billed as jazz musicians, Juber feels that this label inadequately captures what they do.
“Where I live musically is not within one specific genre,” he explained.
Certainly, his own repertoire includes rock, blues, folk and even classical styles. This range is something the concert program will capture.
“It’s about musicianship,” he said. “If you have a broad enough understanding of music and the versatility of the guitar, then the restrictions of genres just melt away. It’s a lot of fun. There’s a great joy for us in the playing.”