California Guitar Trio headlines six-string extravaganzas
Fiery fretwork will be all the rage in Benzie County this week, with two concerts featuring seven guitarists.
First up is the California Guitar Trio, the acclaimed virtuoso group that encompasses surf rock, classical, new age, folk and progressive rock elements. The CGT will be performing at Crystal Mountain’s Conference Center, Tuesday.
Opening the show will be the Younce Guitar Duo, the father and son duo profiled in the Express Jan. 30.
Then, less than a week later, the Mills Community House will host Daniel Quinn and Colin Williamson. The two will perform a show featuring music by Bach, Scarlatti, Mozart and newer compositions as well.
CGT: A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN
Belgian-born Bert Lams, Paul Richards of Salt Lake City and Hideyo Moriya of Tokyo first met while studying with King Crimson impresario Robert Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists in the late ’80s/ early ’90s. “The three of us felt we had something,” said Lams.
“He (Fripp) asked me to work with a group of select players.” Those players turned out to be his new bandmates. Since its inception 20 years ago, the CGT has become an important voice for instrumental guitar works.
But if that sounds dry or didactic, be assured, a performance is anything but.
The show may include music by the quintessential surf-rock instrumental groups The Ventures (“Walk Don’t Run”) and the Chantays (“Pipeline”), Bach fugues, movie themes (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”), prog rock by Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield, even a take on Lynrd Skynrd’s magnum opus “Free Bird.”
It’s all in a night’s work for these guys. “Our performances are very different from our recordings,” said Lams. “After our first two or three recordings we were doing project-related (discs). In performance, we mix up a lot of things.”
On disc, the trio has recorded for Fripp’s Discipline Mobile Global label and the prog labels Inside Out and Inner Knot. Lams also recorded a solo disc of Bach preludes. But fans needn’t worry that side activities such as that will take him away from the trio.
“I love doing different things,” Lams said. “Then I come back to the trio. I love coming back with a fresh perspective.”
ON THE CLASSICAL SIDE
The acoustic fireworks continue Saturday, March 31, when Daniel Quinn and Colin Williamson perform an afternoon show at the Mills Community House. The concert will feature the “African Strings” by composer Jack Body. The New Zealand composer based the composition on music performed on the African kora (a hybrid harp/lute, often used in West African music) and valiha (a tubular zither from Madagascar made from bamboo).
The piece uses the two guitars to mimic the music of those instruments.
Also on the program is Paul Dresher’s “Where We Are Now.” This minimalist work, written in 1977, brings together all the elements of the then-new compositional style emerging in California in the 1970s.
Other works on the program are the famous “Rondo alla Turca” by Mozart, and the Spanish Dance no. 2 “Oriental,” by Granados. Solo works will also be featured, including compositions by Sor, Scarlatti, Bach, Ifukube and others.
Quinn maintains an active performing and teaching career. Over the past 20 years, he has performed as a soloist in many recitals around the United States, Canada, and Japan. He is currently an instructor of guitar and director of the guitar ensemble at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A frequent visitor to the area, where his parents reside, Quinn has performed in Leelanau and Benzie Counties numerous times previously. This is his first time he will perform locally in a duo.
Williamson performed regularly as both a soloist and an ensemble member in the Dayton, Ohio area for several years, where he also taught. In 2011, he graduated from the music technology program at the University of St. Francis, where he helped to start the university’s guitar ensemble. In addition to performing with Quinn, he teaches lessons from his home and is also an active performer of electric and bass guitar in several bands.
The California Guitar Trio with special guest the Younce Guitar Duo will perform at the Northwest Territories Room at Crystal Mountain Resort Tuesday, March 27. Advance tickets are $15, $20 at the door if available. Doors open at 6:30, show begins at 7:30.
Tickets for the Quinn/Williamson duo at the Mills Community House will be on sale at the door beginning at 2 p.m. the day of the show. They are $10 for adult and $5 for students, seniors and children under 12.