California Guitar Trio

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California Guitar Trio
California Guitar Trio live at The B.B. King Blues Club, New York
California Guitar Trio live at The B.B. King Blues Club, New York
Background information
GenresInstrumental rock, progressive rock, New Acoustic, new-age, chamber jazz, folk baroque
Years active1991–present
LabelsInner Knot Records, Karate Body Records
MembersPaul Richards
Bert Lams
Hideyo Moriya

California Guitar Trio (CGT) is a band of three guitar players founded in 1991. The three—Paul Richards of Salt Lake City, Utah, Bert Lams of Affligem, Belgium, and Hideyo Moriya of Tokyo, Japan—met at a 1987 Guitar Craft course, in which Robert Fripp instructed them in the New Standard Tuning (NST). After completing several of Fripp's Guitar Craft courses, the three toured as part of Robert Fripp and The League of Crafty Guitarists.[1]

Continuing their collaboration then in Los Angeles, they founded The California Guitar Trio in 1991. They continue to play in the New Standard Tuning.[1] Their performances and recordings include original compositions, surf covers, and classical re-workings of classical music. Their influences include European classical music, rock, blues, jazz, world music, and surf music.

In 1992 and 1993 with Fripp and Trey Gunn, they toured and recorded as The Robert Fripp String Quintet.[2]

The Trio's music was featured during the television coverage of the 1998[citation needed] and 2000 Olympic Games,[citation needed]. It has been featured on CBS, NBC, CNN WorldBeat, and ESPN TV programs.[citation needed] They performed on the 2003 Grammy Awards-nominated track "Apollo" on Tony Levin's CD Pieces of the Sun.[citation needed] CGT music served as wake-up music for the crew aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour.

The California Guitar Trio performed as an opening act for King Crimson, from which bassist Tony Levin and drummer Pat Mastelotto regularly join the CGT for live shows. CGT has shared the stage with many performers, including John McLaughlin, David Sylvian, Tito Puente, Leftover Salmon, Taj Mahal, Steve Lukather, Simon Phillips, Adrian Legg, Adrian Belew, and Jon Anderson.

The Trio has released 16 albums: seven studio CDs featuring original CGT songs and a variety of other works spanning numerous genres, four live releases, and a Christmas CD with Christmas music. Lams has also made a solo album of Bach preludes titled Nascent.

In August 2004, they released Whitewater, which was produced by Tony Levin. It features mainly original works of the CGT, offset by a puzzle-work arrangement of a Bach lute suite and a mashup of "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" with The Doors' "Riders on the Storm." This was followed in 2008 by Echoes, an album composed entirely of covers, and 2010's Andromeda, the band's first release to consist entirely of original material. The 2012 release, Masterworks, is an all classical music compilation featuring music by Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Rossini and Part. Guitarist Fareed Haque played on Vivaldi's "Winter", and Tony Levin played upright bass and cello on four tracks.


  • The California Guitar Trio (1991, not listed in CGT's own discography)
  • 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)
  • 10 Christmas Songs (2001)
  • Live at the Key Club (2001)
  • CG3+2 (2002)
  • The First Decade (compilation) (2003)
  • Whitewater (2004)
  • Highlights (compilation) (2007)
  • Echoes (2008)
  • Andromeda (2010)
  • Montreal Guitar Trio + California Guitar Trio Live (2011)
  • Masterworks (2011)
  • Komorebi (2016)
  • Elegy (2020)


  1. ^ a b Barry (2004)
  2. ^ "The Robert Fripp String Quintet". Retrieved 2020-03-26.

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