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California Guitar Trio - Rocks the West  CD (album) cover


California Guitar Trio


Crossover Prog

3.66 | 14 ratings

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3 stars Bert Lams, Hideyo Moriya and Paul Richards - the acoustic guitar ensemble better known as the California Guitar Trio - are three very accomplished guys who make great sounding albums. This live set from various venues in Colorado and California in 1999 has some winning selections of acoustic/electric fun and ringingly clear tapestries of ornate rhythmic play. However there are also cuts here that might be better suited for a CD titled 'California Guitar Trio Rocks the West to Sleep', including a few bland originals and several covers and reproductions that don't quite work. Their studio sessions would be a better place to start but this one ain't bad, ain't bad at all.

Especially when you start with a winner like 'Scramble', a network of pulses and spider's web, neat changes, and an unselfish team approach to their playing. Great track. But for a progressive instrumental act, nine minutes of Beethoven's 9th with no particular interpretation or reconstruction is a let down and a tad long-winded, and their 'Bohemian Rhapsody' suffers from the same inertia. On the other hand, the astounding 'Punta Patri' is seductive and moving, covering a range of emotions and ethnic territories all through three guitars and Tony Levin's bass. Though 'Waters of Eden' and 'Pathways' are slow, a 'Pictures at an Exhibition' medley is attempted with mildly interesting results but again, not much new is brought to the party. The evening tops off with 'Blockhead' which is ridiculously good and percusses in a most Fripperrific manner, has a hot sax and plenty of 18-string pyrotechnics.

A mixed bag for the CGT but when they take license and stretch their wings, some magic can be heard. Probably best for fans but a nice issue nonetheless.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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