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California Guitar Trio - Yamanishi Blues CD (album) cover


California Guitar Trio


Crossover Prog

3.05 | 15 ratings

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3 stars I've had the first two California Guitar Trio records in my collection for quite some time but they haven't been played for a few years. I guess that I can dust them off and give them another go...

Yamanishi Blues is a completely acoustic recording featuring the three band members playing their guitars off each other while trying to play their renditions of everything from contemporary to classical music. The music has a very high comfort level to it which means that this acoustic guitar music can pretty much be enjoyed by everyone upon the initial encounter. Unfortunately this is ultimately one of the main problems with this music since it's not really the type of material that rewards its listeners upon revisits. The material lacks any sort of coherence between the different pieces and the album ultimately becomes less than the sum of the individual highlights.

The most memorable compositions for me here are the more contemporary pieces like Walk, Don't Run and Pipeline. They are short, quirky and give me an impression that the trio was having a great deal of fun while recording them. Another notable track is the album-closing Kan-Non Power. This composition has been an important part of Robert Fripp's String Quintet repertoire and this particular take manages to uphold the spirit and energy of the performances with Robert Fripp.

The record flows pretty smoothly until the final forth of it where it stumbles a bit with a 12 minute take on Johann Sebastian Bach's Ciaccona. This is where the band's main weakness is revealed, namely the inability to maintain the intensity in their work for more than a couple of minutes at the time. This performance lacks the energy and passion that the trio had depicted to this point and singe-handedly drops the quality of this album a notch.

Yamanishi Blues is an easy-going release that should appeal to most acoustic guitar enthusiasts even though there isn't that much that distinguishes California Guitar Trio from any of the other artists performing in this field. They definitely have the instrumental skill to keep me interested but the lack of coherence ultimately makes this album merely a good, but non-essential release.

***** star songs: Walk, Don't Run (1:57) Pipeline (1:53) Kan-Non Power (3:21)

**** star songs: Yamanishi Blues (2:21) Melrose Avenue (2:06) Corrente (1:27) Rice Car (5:00) Beeline (1:15) Chromatic Fugue In D Minor (4:34) Tenor Madness (1:26) Sleepwalk (2:17) Carnival (1:42) Prelude In C Minor (1:44) Blockhead (2:12)

*** star songs: Ciaccona (11:37)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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