California Guitar Trio — Echoes
(Inner Knot INK7716 , 2008, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2009-07-01CGT are back to what they do best: arranging covers of classic rock in their own inimitable style. Doing up the classics is part and parcel for the ensemble with two of Beethoven’s well known melodies. “Unmei” is in a Spanish style that not only suits the piece but also brandishes some heavy guitar playing (now a regular feature in the group). My all time favorite Pink Floyd piece, “Echoes,” is presented in guitar craft style with familiar phrasing carefully spread across each player. Paul Richard’s slide guitar lead-in works well to set the tone for the dual leads that carry the old vocal lines forward. Spacey effects backing from Theremin player Pamelia Kurstin make this a sweet performance and a new peak of craftsmanship. Mike Oldfield’s classic “Tubular Bells” is faithfully adapted to the three fretboard attack due in part to Oldfield’s original emphasis on electric string instrumentation. Part of the King Crimson rhythm section (Pat Mastelotto and Tony Levin) makes a a strong cameo appearances to decisively lock in the low end. Krokodil’s “And I Know” is a completely new direction as they play a swing style open chord piece with Jamie Masfield on “Mandolin.” Southern rock anthem “Freebird,” together with Queen’s signature song “Bohemian Rhapsody” are two of the CGT’s most appreciated live performances. Overall this recording serves not only as a reinvention but a testament to the trio’s penchant for couching familiarity within surprise.
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