California Guitar Trio 

Does anyone give two hoots about guitar shredders anymore? Steve Vai and Jeff Beck continue to draw crowds, but their recent records are futile exercises in dated ProTools exhibitionism. The all-acoustic California Guitar Trio isn't immune to showboating, but it scores points for favoring live instrumentation (sometimes augmented with bass and drums) and tastefully wicked arrangements of the masters (Bach, Beethoven, the Ventures). The result bridges the Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson and Michael Hedges — progressive acoustic music that comfortably straddles the jazz and jam hemispheres.

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