Playbill

Tonight: California Guitar Trio at McGonigel's Mucky Duck

Created in 1991 after taking part in Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists, the trio formed by Paul Richards, Bert Lams and Hideyo Moriya forms a rare musical partnership that reaches across various genres without any form of prejudice. During the trio's live sets, they go through tunes as diverse as Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (including the opera section), Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells," Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and The Simpsons theme without (literally) missing a beat.

In fact, that musical eclecticism that has kept them going for almost two decades, attracting fans from various walks of life while allowing the musicians to share the stage with Tito Puente, King Crimson bassist Tony Levin - who has produced some of their recordings and often joins them on tour - John McLaughlin and numerous others.

J.S. Bach's "Toccatta and Fugue in D Minor," live in Redlands, Calif.

The secret behind the trio's success seems to be the the fact that they're able to surprise audiences wherever they go - one night, they might play a straight classical set, while during another gig they might do an effects-laden take on Pink Floyd's "Echoes."

Also unlike most other groups, they do allow fans to tape their sets - but not for commercial use - so you don't have to worry about having your portable camera confiscated at the door. This might explain the large availability of live clips available on YouTube.

7:30 p.m. tonight at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 713-528-5999 or http://www.mcgonigels.com.

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Ernest Barteldes