California Guitar Trio
The universe of guitar knows no boundaries for The California Guitar Trio. Since 1991, the group has enthralled listeners with a singular sound that fearlessly crisscrosses genres. The trio’s questing spirit drives it to explore the intersections between rock, jazz, classical, and world music. It even throws in the occasional surf or spaghetti Western tune for good measure.
Comprised of Bert Lams, Hideyo Moriya and Paul Richards, the group has established a unique, personal connection with audiences. In addition to dazzling musicianship and interplay, The California Guitar Trio's (CGT) shows are full of captivating stories and humor that enable concert-goers to feel like they're part of the music, not just spectators. In fact, the group’s goal is to transcend their instruments, so people focus on the music first, and its considerable technical prowess a distant second.
CGT's 14 albums, streamed over 11 million times on Pandora, offer diverse snapshots of the group’s mercurial muse. The trio’s most recent release Masterworks showcases its classical side, with expansive takes on Bach, Beethoven, Arvo Pärt, and Schubert. Other highlights include Andromeda, which combines their many influences into a visionary album of original material; CG3+2, an exploration of kinetic rock territory in collaboration with bassist Tony Levin and drummer Pat Mastelotto; and Echoes, which reimagines timeless material by artists such as Mike Oldfield, Penguin Café Orchestra, Pink Floyd, and Queen.
CGT's lineup is truly the sum of its distinct parts: Utah native Paul Richards immersed himself in rock, blues, jazz, and folk during his early days and while attending The University of Utah’s jazz guitar program. Bert Lams, originally from Belgium, graduated from the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, specializing in classical guitar. Tokyo-born Hideyo Moriya began his guitar journey with surf music and British rock, before relocating to Boston to study at Berklee.
All three felt the call to push themselves to the limit by enrolling in Robert Fripp’s challenging Guitar Craft courses, where they first met in 1987. They went on to tour together as part of Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists, before forming the California Guitar Trio in Los Angeles four years later.
Two decades and 1,500+ gigs later, the CGT remains intensely committed to explore, evolve and communicate a wide-ranging musical worldview.
Montreal Guitar Trio
When it comes to bridging diverse genres of music, Montreal Guitar Trio (MG3), which CBC described as “the hottest guitar ensemble in Canada,” has quickly established itself as a force to be reckoned with. For more than 14 years, the trio’s virtuosity, rigor, creativity, and dynamic stage presence — they are noted for the wit and warmth of their interactions with audiences — have been winning applause around the world. They won the 2011 Opus Prize for concert of the year in the Jazz / World Music category. They have given hundreds of concerts in prestigious venues in North America, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, including the BB King Blues Club in New York, the Rundetårnet in Copenhagen, and the legendary Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
MG3 (guitarists Glenn Lévesque, Marc Morin and Sébastien Dufour), released their fourth CD, Cambria (©2011), after four years of international touring. The product of a long period of musical introspection and the Trio’s most accomplished and personal work yet, this album contains six original tracks and three covers — including the legendary While My Guitar Gently Weeps by George Harrison and The Mexican by Babe Ruth. With all the influences which over the years have marked the Trio’s eclectic and original music, Cambria takes listeners on a journey through the worlds’ many cultures — strains of flamenco and Argentinean tango blend with Cuban music. Nordic music mixes with Brazilian samba and progressive rock. The sounds of the orient subtly blend with those of Californian surf guitar, and modern pop. Once again, MG3 sails past the formulaic boundaries that usually limit guitar trios, while charming ears and capturing hearts of seasoned critics and ever-expanding audiences.
CGT + MG3
CGT + MG3 features all six virtuoso guitarists from California Guitar Trio and Montreal Guitar Trio. Representing four countries (Japan, Canada, Belgium, and US), they fuse over 40 years of combined performing experience into one unique six-by-6-string ‘phenomensemble’. In a pleasantly surprising way, CGT's steel stringed-guitars blend naturally with MG3's nylon-stringed guitars, as each trios fret boards chase the others' original compositions and new arrangements of progressive rock, world, jazz and classical music.