Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

L.A.G.Q.

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The members of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet may surprise you. Sure, they're four classically-trained guitarists who have known each other since college. And yes, they do play music from the standard guitar repertoire. However, what is extraordinary about them is that they are also composers, arrangers, and innovators. This is apparent as soon as the first notes of the opening track are heard. How refreshing it is to have a disc that is so engaging, diverse, educational, and just plain fun.

For the African-inspired "mbira," the guitar-guys put staples on strings to imitate the sound of the African thumb piano. "A furiosa" has them tapping their guitars and rubbing their fingers up and down the strings to create percussive effects associated with the Brazilian rhythms of the piece.

Some other departures from the norm: a suite of three Klezmer dances, featuring a guest stint by a Russian-born Klezmer scholar playing wild clarinet solos, and a phenomenal arrangement of Chick Correa's "Spain." This disc makes it easy for the listener to completely enjoy and appreciate; it is also easy to hear the joy the LAGQ most certainly feel when they are playing together.

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