California Guitar Trio at Rockford’s Memorial Hall March 30

Staff Report

Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts will present the California Guitar Trio at Rockford’s Memorial Hall at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 30. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

The California Guitar Trio is Paul Richards of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bert Lams of Affligem, Belgium; and Hideyo Moriya of Chiba, Japan.

The trio first met in England in 1987 while studying with iconic King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. After touring together as part of Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists, the three guitarists convened in Los Angeles and founded The California Guitar Trio in 1991.

Last year, The California Guitar Trio celebrated 20 years with the release of Andromeda, out on vinyl through Karate Body. CD version available via Inner Knot.

According to Lams: “Andromeda represents a culmination of all our work together in the past 20 years. We have released numerous CDs over the years, but there’s none like this one. Andromeda is the first album containing nothing but original material, combined with improvised pieces. The integration of structured, thought-out pieces with the loose and spontaneous improvisations is something we’ve never done before.”

Moriya reminisced: “When we started the band in 1991, it was only a California project, and no one knew how long it would last. Yet, something good always happened to keep us going when times were tough. It is great to reach 20 years with Andromeda, and we have good energy to keep going.”

The California Guitar Trio plays a unique style, with guitars weaving an intricate knot work of interlocking parts to form a whole. Richards, Lams and Moriya can create music that sounds like it is performed on a kind of “super-piano” and at other times unfolds in an ethereal, otherworldly manner.

In space, California Guitar Trio’s music was played to wake the astronauts aboard the NASA space shuttle Endeavor. Here on Earth, the trio’s music has been featured extensively on NPR, NBC’s Olympics coverage, and various CBS, CNN and ESPN TV programs.

Lams explained, “This new CD captures a balance between the pure acoustic sound and the processed electrified sound of the CGT, something we’ve experimented with before, but not to this degree.”

Richards expands on the CGT’s distinctive recorded sound: “With each recording, we have been striving to achieve the best of acoustic analog recording techniques blended with the use of electronic guitar effects and digital processing. With Andromeda, we have achieved a new level of the acoustic/electric blend. Our original music continues to evolve with years of detailed and refined interaction among trio members.”

Having played with a “Who’s Who” of great musicians over the years, Andromeda features guest performances by Tony Levin, Julie Slick, Eric Slick, Tom Griesgraber and Tyler Trotter.

The cover of Andromeda also serves to celebrate another 20th anniversary, that of the Hubble Telescope. The CD cover image, designed by Pablo Mandel, features a photo from the new camera on the Hubble. The CD cover has earned a prize in the European Space Agency’s Hubble Pop Culture competition.

Tickets for the March 30 performance at Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St., Rockford, can be purchased in advance at Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State, (815) 963-6765; both Postal Shoppe locations: Edgebrook Center, (815) 397-7301, and 2205 S. Perryville, (815) 484-0940; JustGoods, 201 Seventh St., (815) 965-8903; Nikki’s Café, 604 Pleasant St., Beloit, Wis., (608) 207-3101; or by mail: send a check and SASE to P.O. Box 765, Rockford, IL 61105-0765. Indicate artist or performance date on check. Credit card payment accepted only at via PayPal. A $1 ticket processing fee is included. Print your receipt. Info: (815) 964-2238 or

From the Feb. 29-March 6, 2012, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!