THE CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO’S RELENTLESS passion for following the muse has served it well. The acoustic group’s fearless multi-genre explorations have driven 14 albums and nearly 1,500 gigs across its 22-year career. It has also proven that a zero-compromise musical approach can yield an ever-expanding audience. Comprising Bert Lams of Affligem Belgium, Hideyo Moriya of Chiba Japan, and Paul Richards of Utah USA, the group crisscrosses the universes of rock, jazz, world music, surf music, and classical music in its performances and recordings.
CGT’s most recent album, Masterworks [CGT], focuses exclusively on the classical side of the house, featuring works by composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Arvo Pärt, Shubert, and Vivaldi. Accompanying the trio on the project are Tony Levin on upright bass and cello, and Fareed Haque on classical guitar.
The trio met while participating in Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft courses in 1987. They first toured together as part of Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists, an orchestra of acoustic players that served as exponents of the King Crimson founder’s teachings, compositions, and performance approach. In 1991, they founded the California Guitar Trio, which initially gained notoriety opening for the likes of King Crimson, John McLaughlin, and David Sylvian. They have fans in high places too: the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour used their pieces as wake-up music.
Recent years have found the group working with the Montreal Guitar Trio. The acts perform both independently and in a dazzling six-guitar format during gigs. They play arrangements of each other’s material, as well as innovative takes on rock standards. The collaboration has also yielded the concert recording +Live [CGT].By Anil Prasad