California Guitar Trio with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto Live At The Key Club

It was only a matter of time before the internationally-based California Guitar Trio's world academia-flavoured approach to creating music with the acoustic guitar would summon others into their fold. Luckily, they procured the world's greatest rhythm section - bassist Tony Levin and acoustic-electric percussion pioneer Pat Mastelotto, who befriended them while opening up for King Crimson on tour. "Over the years, we've played with several others on stage - Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn, Bill Janssen and Jarrod Kaplan," explains guitarist Bert Lams. "We've always kept our eyes out for opportunities to play with guests to expand our horizons. We've always wanted to play with a singer and having Tony is like playing with a voice. He adds an extra dimension to the music we play. Tony has a unique style; he has acquired freedom on his instrument, it's an incredible experience to be playing with a musician of that calibre. Pat adds a lot of power and groove. We actually had some people in the audience dancing! He also has tremendous musical input and has loads of enthusiasm to help really kick things along." As a trio, they project sounds with the power of an orchestra, and their attention to detail is like using pointillism to paint an emotional landscape. As a five-piece, they syncopate as if they were contained inside a high-speed subway rocket; the complex mix of Spanish, Japanese, surf and prog arrangements are amusing, controlling the audience like stoplights at a major city intersection. Originals, covers (including Yes's "Heart of the Sunrise") and daring improvs grace this live recording, which will indiscriminately charm infants up through to the aged. Lams knows where things will continue to progress, "this went so well that we decided to do another tour as a quintet this August, as well as recording a studio album together." (Independent)