A Review of The California Guitar Trio in Charleston
Imagine, if you will, a cross between Andy
Summers' virtuoso fret and finger stylings and his eclectic sound, melded
with Andrés Segovia's sense of presentation and melody. What a sound ...
what a night. These guys played songs of varying stripes with constantly
morphing manners of style and sound. One of my friends asked me before I
left Florida to pin down a sound or pigeonhole for the CGT: after seeing
them, I won't - it wouldn't be fair or inclusive.
With that said, as far as describing the
night's sounds, lets try this: stir in (from the audience's left to right)
the percussive rhythm stylings of Windham Hill's Michael Hedges (RIP) as
CGT's Hideyo - throughout the night - laid down a lush, verdant bottom of
strumming and plucking; throw in heapin' helpin' of Joe Walsh-esque
noodlings and pleasantly unfamiliar sounds (minor chords?) while Paul
takes/retreats/resumes/abdicates a lead run or three during each piece;
and magnify it all with Bert's remarkable facility for marrying the
complex/compound runs/riffs and chording of someone such as John McLaughlin
to the sudden and sprightly blitzkrieg insertions of, say, Jon Anderson in
his earliest work with Yes. These three cats do things with their guitars
and effects pedals I've heard nowhere else. And this Bert cat - it was like
the stride manner in which George Winston plays a piano; how DO these guys
Anyway, the band played everything from their
original and engaging compositions to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to Floyd's
Echoes (WOW!) to (there was a joke behind it, of which I knew not until
afterwards) freakin' FREE BIRD!
They were conversational and approachable on
stage, technically impressive, artistically peerless and just plain ol' fun.
It was - at once - more and less than I expected: they bantered back and
forth both verbally, and even when addressing (on their guitars) a
classically bent piece of music, they made it something a child would enjoy;
yet they never showed off simply for the sake of showing off, like some other
self-consumed and self-aggrandizing musical masters.
My night was complete.
Webmaster Note: Wayne Shelor is a long-time
journalist who wrote this review as part of a description of his trip to
Charleston to meet with friends for the concert. That piece has been
edited and shortened with permission from the author for use here.