California Guitar Trio - A Christmas album - 2002

"Happy Christmas and a great New Year from CG3 + pV"


Some of you will remember that Inside Out also released the "CG3+2" album this year. This was an album with not only the three acoustic guitar players but also with King Crimson's giants Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto. That not only gave the album a more progressive style but was also an album for a bigger audience. So I am a little surprised to see so soon the next album of the guys. Or must I say previous album because the recordings are from December 2001. A real Christmas album.


Hideyo Moriya – Guitars; Paul Richards – Guitars; Bert Lams – Guitars.

Bill Janssen – Saxophone on "Jesu, joy of man's desiring"; Henry Miller – Bells on "Jingle Bells".


The album mainly consists out of traditionals and some classical pieces. Everybody knows the melodies of the traditionals "Carol of the bells", "Oh Christmas tree", "Greensleeves" and "God rest ye merry gentlemen". But the most of you will also know the classical pieces "Jesu, joy of man's desiring" from J.S.Bach, "Unto us a child is born" of G.F. Handel, "Jingle bells" of J. Pierpont and "Silent night" of F. Gruber. Because the album is only 34 minutes long (!) there is only place left for "Happy Xmas (war is over)" of John Lennon and Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence". For me Sakamoto's melody is the most beautiful melody of the whole album.

Every track is tastefully arranged, sounds beautiful and is still very recognisable. The boys are showing in an intimate way that they know how to play the guitar.

But my big question is; who is waiting for A Christmas album? Maybe some of you will enjoy playing this album instead of all the other normal "Christmas trash". This one has at least a good quality. To be honest I was not waiting for this album and will probably not listen to it again. Personally I don't like the period of Christmas and New Year. For me it is all very hypocrite, people in Europe and America are spending lots of money on Christmas presents and fireworks while in Africa people are dying of hunger. Maybe it has to do with my travelling into Africa in the past. I had fantastic Christmas and New Year evenings in places where people had really nothing. Since then spending Christmas time in Europe has been a punishment to me.


Personally I think progressive fans can better buy the already mentioned "CG3+2" album. On this album you can find besides great acoustic guitar work some King Crimson influences and a great cover of the Yes classic "Heart of the sunrise". Not to mention the rhythm section formed by Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto!

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - December 2002. -   - Inside Out