Trey Gunn Band with California Guitar Trio

I saw the Trey Gunn Band and the California Guitar Trio at Orion Recording Studios in Baltimore, MD. The Orion Recording Studios venue, as far as concerts are concerned, is a small room with a small stage. The acoustics were excellent and the setting was extremely intimate and cozy. There were about 100+ people and they were generally appreciative.

The California Guitar Trio, who opened, were really good. The music is a combination of jazz, surf-music, and rock that is played on acoustic guitars. The music is strongly layered because of the presence of three guitars. The band played material that I was largely unfamiliar with, most of which they said would appear on their next album. There was an amazing rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as well as the William Tell Overture.

Trey Gunn put on a shorter show than the California Guitar Trio. The live show was an extension of Trey Gunn's solo efforts: highly groove-laden jazzy music with haunting melodies. Most of the stuff he played I recognised to be from The Third Star, which included Dziban, Sirrah, Arrakis, and Kaffaljidhma.

The band was excellent and it was generally not apparent that they had been rehearsing only for a few days, though there were sports where I think more rehearsal could have helped. The highlights of the show, besides the dual Warr guitar duets of Chris Cunningham and Trey Gunn, was Bob Muller's drumming. Muller fluently and easily switched between the various percussive instruments. The band came together amazingly in Sirrah, a song that sends shivers down my spine because of its superb mix of the tabla and the Warr guitar.

The best parts of the show were the jams involving both the California Guitar Trio and the Trey Gunn Band. I am not sure how much of it was improvised, but the output was excellent. The show ended with the California Guitar Trio coming back and playing their guitars without any amplification. The resulting sound was novel and fresh. This show is definitely worth checking out if you're into progressive instrumental music.

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || || June 3, 1997