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~ www.ChrisRuel.com ~ Chris@ChrisRuel.com ~ November 2003
California Guitar Trio with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto: CG3+2 2002, Inside Out Music, 6 93723 65242 9 CyberHome: http://www.CGTrio.com http://www.PatMastelotto.com http://www.TonyLevin.com
CG3+2 is a strictly instrumental effort that features the progressive guitar work of Bert Lams, Paul Richards, and Hideyo Moriya. The style is centered around clean toned and acoustic guitar work that exhits the trios refined skills in acoustic technicianry and their general musicality. The trio teams up on this album with veteran bass whomper Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto.
The trio's style is acoustic centric with some layered electric lead guitar parts to give it a fusiony edge in places. The guitar playing is superb approaching perfection, demonstrating great proficiency on both acoustic and electric instruments. The technical aspects of the playing, such as rhythmic, timing, and precision, are all impressive, as well as are the voicings, feeling, and musicality aspects of the playing. The music covers a range of styles including progressive, jazz, and fusion. The music created by the trio has a classic, easy-going feel to it that is gracefully projected despite the intensive guitar work that fuels it.
The trio's rendition of the classic Yes composition "Heart of the Sunrise" clearly demonstrates their abilities by contrast to the original version that the trio covers with appealing and unique vision. The CGT covers this track and several others with good results for the listener.
If you are looking for mellow, laid-back, guitar-centric, instrumental music that has some intensive complexity to its character and aims for the main stream of listener accessibility with some seasoning to make it interesting, the CGT is a good band to check out. This music is custom made for lazy weekend mornings for music fans who need a little more caffeine to get their stereo going than the average person.
Players: Guitar, Tenor Guitar Bert Lams Guitar, Slide Guitar Paul Richards Guitar, Mando-Cello Hideyo Moriya Bass, Chapman Stick Tony Levin Traps and Buttons Pat Mastelotto
Tracks: 1) Melrose Avenue 2) Skyline 3) Dancing Ann 4) Heart of the Sunrise 5) Hanagasa 6) Zundoko-Bushi 7) Blockhead &nb! sp; 8) Dance of Maya 9) Swampy Space 10) Swampy Return 11) Train to Lamy 12) Eve 13) What I Am 14) The Chase
~ Christopher Ruel
Artist: California Guitar Trio Title: The First Decade Genre: Rock/Instrumental, Progressive Label: Inside Out Music America-www.insideoutmusic.com Website: www.cgtrio.com The First Decade is California Guitar Trio's album of collected works. For those of you that may have missed some highlights along the way this is a great CD to pick up. Is this a good representation of the first ten years of their career? This is not for me to say, as I have not been following their recorded output for that long. My introduction to their music came over the last few years. I have always enjoyed what they had to offer. I passed this CD on to several different people. No one had ever heard of the band before and they all loved this music. Now that alone was impressive. Think of The Ventures gone progressive and that is what this band sounds like quite often, with more of an acoustic principle. I like this music because it is guitar based instrumental music with many different qualities featuring layers and dispositions contributed by each individual in the group. Their cultures and influences are broad and that is what makes their musical repertoire so diverse. Hideyo Moriya, Bert Lams and Paul Richards make up the trio. Many guests show up on their albums, which makes it even more interesting and entertaining. Tony Levin, the incredible bass player, is a regular in the studio and shows up on stage with them at times, including many other talented artists that accentuate the CGT sound on a regular basis. Nineteen tracks is a lot of music and what makes it so enjoyable is that every song has something different to offer without compromising the band's direction or sound. They are always true to themselves and their craft. Even with their original compositions, they tend sneak in a lick here and there from heavy weights like Led Zeppelin, which everyone does it so it is nothing new. See if you can find similarities to other bands yourself as you listen, I would be willing to bet you will catch a passage that you will recognize if you listen closely enough. This is what makes there music so intriguing and fun, it always keeps you guessing and wondering what could be coming next. ©"Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck August 21, 2003 1. Yamanashi Blues - 2:21 2. Melrose Avenue - 2:11 3. Beeline - 1:19 4. Carnival - 1:46 5. Blockhead - 2:16 6. Kan-Non Power - 3:16 7. Train to Lamy Suite, Pts. 1-3 - 4:22 8. Punta Patri - 4:21 9. Train to Lamy, Pt. 5 - 2:03 10. Above the Clouds - 5:34 11. Arroyo - 3:39 12. Pathways - 4:29 13. Great Divide - 2:32 14. Scramble - 2:00 15. Kaleidoscope - 0:57 16. Ananda - 2:43 17. Invitation (live) - 2:44 18. Happy Time Fun (live) - 3:17 19. Train to Lamy, Pt. 3 (Reprise) - 1:16 Rating-4 / 5 Credits: Trey Gunn - Guitar California Guitar Trio - Producer, Engineer Tony Levin - Stick Paul Richards - Guitar, Slide Guitar, E-Bow, Mixing, Guitar Loops Bert Lams - Guitar, Mixing Bill Janssen - Saxophone Hideyo Moriya - Guitar Roger Lambson Warr - Saxophone, Engineer
California Guitar Trio: rocks the west (CD, 52:10) DGM0003 2000 Discipline Global Mobile P.O. Box 5287 Beverly Hills, CA 90209 CYBERHOME: http://www.disciplineglobalmobile.com Somewhere deep within the town of Precision - which lies perilously close to the active volcano, Mt. Pretension - lies the California California Guitar Trio. The three acoustic guitar virtuosos that make up this eclectic band, Bert Lams, Paul Richards, and Hideyo Moriya are summa cum laude graduates from Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitar Players. This pedigree is not surprising once you've spent some time listening to them - their guitar playing is practically flawless, both rhythmically and melodically. Their capabilities run the gamut of almost every known form of music, and they're main focus on rocks the west is to make sure you are aware of their incredible versatility. Ranging from awe-inspiring (their arrangement and performance of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" is simply beautiful) to downright audacious (Arranging Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" for three acoustic guitars is a bit TOO over-the-top), rocks the west will definitely grab your ear and demand your attention. These fellows are simply masters of their instruments, and it shows - even in their less successful arrangements and compositions. Lams, Richards, and Moriya are joined at times by prolific stick-man Tony Levin, and saxophonist Bill Janssen, and while Levin and Janssen certainly add to the weight of the tracks they contribute to, the guitarists are clearly (and deservedly) the stars of the show. These guys leave no musical stone unturned, going from classical to jazz to rockabilly and back in a dizzying display of 6-string versatility. Their incredible arranging capabilities are apparent in their adaptations of Beethoven's 9th Symphony (arranged by Lams) and Yatsuhashi Kengyo's Rokudan (arranged by Moriya); even when the results are less than stellar (Lams' adaptation of "Bohemian Rhapsody" doesn't come off too well), CGT must be admired for their adventurous spirit. Actually, some of the strongest cuts on the album are not their interpretations of other's work, but their own compositions. The opening cut "Scramble" - penned by all three guitarist - is an excellent example of their guitar playing abilities, and shows-off some nice interlocking guitar work reminiscent of 80's-era Crimson. Lams' "Punta Patri" is a very pleasant journey through a harmonics-filled soundscape accompanied by some beautiful low-end work from Mr. Levin. However, there are times when the group becomes too clever for their own good: Janssen's "Blue-eyed Monkey" and the group-penned "Happy Time in Fun Town" are both a bit too chaotic - they're either poor compositions or bad improvs. Fortunately, these trip-ups are few and far between, and songs like the Richards penned "Blockhead" more than make up for the occasional miss. "Blockhead" - which closes the album - features some fantastic chord structures and excellent soloing by saxophonist Janssen, and is a perfect way to finish up an impressive effort from CGT. rocks the west is an excellent example of an instance where the total of a band is definitely more than the sum of its parts. The variety of sounds that come out of these three guitars is nothing short of amazing - these guys are constantly in musical motion, daring the listeners to guess what they're going to try next. And even though most of the time your guesses will most likely be wrong, you'll be glad at what you hear nonetheless. Simply put, if you are a fan of acoustic guitar your collection is incomplete without a CGT album, and rocks the west is a very good one to start with. - Michael Askounes (email@example.com) CREDITS: Bert Lams: Acoustic Guitar Paul Richards: Acoustic Guitar Hideyo Moriya: Acoustic Guitar Tony Levin: Bass, Stick (Tracks 1,5,6,8,10,11,13) Bill Janssen: Saxophone (Tracks 7,8,10,11,13) TRACKLIST: 1. Scramble (2:22) 2. Symphony No. 9 - Beethoven (8:58) 3. Bohemian Rhapsody (5:46) 4. Caravan (3:34) 5. Punta Patri (4:19) 6. Waters of Eden (4:27) 7. Blue-eyed Monkey (2:00) 8. Pathways (4:58) 9. Pictures at an Exhibition (3:59) 10. Happy Time in Fun Town (3:16) 11. Misirlou (2:04) 12. Rokudan (1:50) 13. Blockhead (4:38) More information on California Guitar Trio can be found at http://www.cgtrio.com/.
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