Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
California Guitar Trio - California Guitar Trio with Tony Levin & Pat Mastelotto: CG3 + 2 CD (album) cover


California Guitar Trio


Crossover Prog

3.63 | 40 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Proving that guitar can be an instrument of beauty

I was introduced to the California Guitar Trio [CGT] some time ago when I had heard their cover of Classical Gas and ever since then I considered myself a fan despite an extreme lack of hearing or owning any of their material. The time would eventually come when I found myself holding this album in a record store and walking to the front counter, hoping and wishing that the album would not let me down. The first song I heard by them had stuck with me for so many years I was so afraid that I would be disappointed by the album. Being a prog fan as well the notion of the album having fourteen tracks on it was somewhat frightening - with no long suites or songs hitting the 10-minute barrier I was trying my hardest just to get past my worries. Then I played the album for the first time...

...and all my worries melted away.

This album is, simply put, excellent. For those unfamiliar with CGT, the band consists (as the name would so obviously suggest) of three very talented musicians who play - you guessed it - guitar. However, don't drift this way if you're expecting hammering riffs or soaring solos. Indeed, don't come this way if you're expecting post-rock anti-melodies or ambient zone outs. What should you expect then? Be ready for sharp hooks and intricate verses, incredible melodies and even a couple of cover tunes, these guys know how to play the guitars as though they were an entire band. Of course, this time they guy's aren't alone as the name CG3+2 would suggest. This time they're joined by Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto, both of whom have played with the likes of King Crimson (and others of course), and what else would you do with Krimsoners than play a Crimson cover tune? Indeed, they have here... well, almost anyways. One of the biggest standouts on the album is the track Zundoko Bushi which is a mixture of pieces of 21st Century Schizoid Man and a traditional Japanese arrangement which comes off surprisingly well, even when you're very well acquainted with the original Krimson tune.

Although the album is comprised entirely of instrumentals the tracks still work very well together. Surprisingly enough since a lot of albums that attempt this feat wind up sounding like a kind of instrumental goo. Likely what divides the tracks so well is that they each have very distinct verses and choruses, the music not so defined around trying to be complex for the sake of being complex, but rather to play wonderful simple music in a complex way that winds up harmonizing and synchronizing so well that is takes out it's competitors who are trying to be over the top rather easily. Among the tracks there are some beautiful standouts such as the catchy Dancing Anne, the mysterious Blockhead, the well done cover of Yes's Heart Of The Sunrise and the mini-suite Train To Lamy. However, every track is more or less spectacular in its own way.

This is a truly excellent album that would not hinder anyone's prog collection to feature. Anyone who wants to hear some wonderful guitar work and some amazing melodies that snag the ear ought to go buy this one post-hate while others are simply recommended to give it a listen or two... or many. This one's bound to find a soft spot for just about any music lover. 4 flying orange orbs out of 5.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password


Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.