California Guitar Trio - A Christmas Album

Year of Release: 2002
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 114
Format: CD
Total Time: 34:12:00

The season of good will is with us again. Thinking of music during the festive season practically automatically makes you think of Bing Crosby and the hundreds of one day wonders who wrote a song based on Christmas. A very high percentage of that musical output is vocal, with choirs having a field day performing the music live all over the world. Indeed X-mas is the biggest karaoke ever, which is why this album by the California Guitar Trio comes as a very welcome gift due to its pure instrumental nature. No Christmas dinner will be spoiled by vocal overloads ever again thanks to this little album. And little it is, because with only ten "classics" and traditionals, the playing time of this disc is rather on the short side, although this is rumoured to be a full price album! Surely there must be much more music to be treated the CGT way in order to lift the duration in the region of the fifty minutes scope.

Don't expect a rousing version of the Wham! hit "Last Christmas" or seasonal chartbusters by Slade, Wizzard or Elton John. They could have done "I Believe In Father Christmas" by Greg Lake or even "In Dulci Jubilo" by Mike Oldfield to keep with the progressive tradition, but apart from some obvious traditionals our "three wise men" have gone for classical material by Bach, Händel and Pierpont. In Bach's "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring" the guitars almost sound like a harpsichord. In order not to fall into the trap of only delivering "older" material our friends have also added two contemporary compositions, the first being the Ryuchi Sakamoto delight "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence," part of the soundtrack to the film featuring David Bowie. The music is ever so wonderful and fragile. The John Lennon million seller "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," however, sounds more like pure muzak, copying the vocal melody for acoustic guitar. The album closes with the most popular tune of them all in the form of Gruber's "Silent Night," taking you right back towards the essence of the true Christmas spirit. The only thing that should have been delivered with this album is a little bag containing artificial snow. However maybe you'll get real snow on the day, as nothing beats the original!

Carol Of The Bells / Oh Christmas Tree / Greensleeves (What Child Is This ?) / Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring / Unto Us A Child Is Born / God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / Jingle Bells / Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence / Happy Xmas (War Is Over) / Silent Night

Bert Lams - guitars
Hideyo Moriya - guitars
Paul Richards - guitars
Bill Janssen - saxophone

The Robert Fripp String Quartet - The Bridge Between (1993)
Yamanashi Blues (1993)
Invitation (1995)
Pathways (1998)
An Opening Act: Live On Tour With King Crimson (1999)
Rocks The West (2000)
Monday Night In San Francisco (2000)
Live At The Key Club (2001)
CG3+2 (2002)
A Christmas Album (2002)
The First Decade (2003)
Whitewater (2004)
Echoes (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: September 29th 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 736
Language: english


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