With their technical wizardry and breathtaking fusion of classical music, blues, jazz and country - immersed within the quintessential genre of California surf rock - California Guitar Trio have earned themselves an enthusiastic community of fans and the respect of many renowned colleagues. Their stunning virtuosity and sly sense of humour have earned them a rabid following with a significant crossover into the progressive, acoustic and classical music scenes.
The trio of revered guitarists met for the first time in a class taught by Robert Fripp (King Crimson) in 1987. In 1991 they embarked on a worldwide tour with Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitars. It was out of this life-changing experience that CGT was formed. They now boast an impressive collection of seven albums; the last two, The First Decade and CG3+2, were released on Inside Out Music. This newest release, Whitewater, features twelve new tracks produced by Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson).
The California Guitar Trio is all about precision. Their compositions are hard, etched diamonds, played with the kind of detail a jeweler could admire. One of their favorite tricks, derived from their time with Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists, is to pass the melody of a piece, one note at a time, among the three musicians. Put on the headphones to really appreciate this effect on "Prelude Circulation BWV 988." The circulation concept is more than a parlor trick, and they don't do it often, but it speaks to the single-minded, yet orchestral approach of CGT. It reveals itself in the haunting melody of "The Marsh," and on the high energy goof of "Red Iguana." With Whitewater, CGT expands their palette a bit, processing their acoustic guitars for electric lead lines ranging from the siren sustained melody on "Atlantis" to a Hendrixian freakout on "Led Foot." They leave the sometimes shtick-like covers of Beethoven and Queen off this disc, although they end the CD with a fun interpolation of Eddy Arnold's "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and the Doors' "Riders on the Storm." But most of Whitewater consists of original compositions where CGT reveals the possibilities of their sound in what might be the best album in their 13-year existence. --John Diliberto