Bert Lams and Fabio Mittino
Play The Kennett Flash
By Rob Nagy
When guitar master Bert Lams, one third of “The California Guitar Trio,” isn’t performing or recording with his fellow band mates, he can be found immersing himself into creative side projects.
Lams’ latest effort is a series of live performances with Italian guitarist Fabio Mittino. As a follow-up to their 2015 album release “Long Ago,” the duo is planning to return to the studio after the first of the year.
“We have done several tours, Fabio and I, promoting ‘Long Ago,’” says Lams, while on tour with the California Guitar Trio in Phoenix, Arizona. “We are gearing up to record a second album. There is a whole arsenal of pieces that were written for piano with movements that we’ve arranged for the guitar. We have 95% of the songs ready to record. We are going to be presenting a lot of this material on the up and coming tour. So it will be a mixture of a few pieces from “Long Ago” and mostly pieces from the new up and coming album. It’s more fun for us to play some new stuff and work on it as we tour, travel and hear the response from the people. It all blends really well.”
“Getting out on my own from time to time is very important,” adds Lams. “It started out a few years ago when we had a couple of long breaks with the California Guitar Trio and I wanted to keep busy. So, I started playing with other artists recording and performing. From there it evolved into whenever I had a couple of months off or a little break. I tried to keep busy doing side projects. It’s very refreshing because I can bring something new to the California Guitar Trio, too. I get excited about some music and I want to play it and if there is an outlet for that, be it the trio or a project with a duo or solo music, I love to do that. I feel grateful that I have each and the means to do that.”
Studying classical guitar with Monique Vigneron and Albert Sundermann (A. Sundermann was a student of Andres Segovia.) Lams graduated with honors from the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music in Belgium in 1984. Lams has gone on to conduct workshops and master classes for guitar students in Berlin, Paris, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Mexico City.
Lams, along with fellow guitar prodigies Paul Richards and Hideyo Moriya formed the “California Guitar Trio” in 1993. Two decades and 14 albums later the critically acclaimed trio continues to enjoy a flourishing career as one of the most prominent instrumentalists in the world.
“One of the things that really helped us a lot in the early ‘90s is that we were able to open up for King Crimson,” recalls Lams. “We did 130 shows opening up for them and their guitarist Robert Fripp, our friend and mentor, was responsible for giving us that opportunity. We are really thankful for that because that still follows us around. Every night we play there are people that come up to us and say, ‘The first time I saw you guys was opening for King Crimson.’ Those people keep coming back to our shows 25 years later. They are still there. It was something that was really great and we can still feel now.”
“None of us specialize in a certain kind of music,” adds Lams. “We each bring unique music to the group. I grew-up with blues and rock music, so did Paul, but I also love jazz and classical music, I studied each of them, but I never became a real live jazz guitar player or a true classical guitar player. I pursued all these different things and I became quite prolific at it. I never felt like I specialized that much. I wanted to assimilate to jazz and classical and make it our own. I think that’s kind of the unique thing about the trio. We have all these genres that we know but we don’t specialize, we kind of make it our own and kind thing and people enjoy it.”
“I think the main key to all of it is that we love what we do,” says Lams. “We play the music that we love to play. We’re not catering to a certain crowd or certain genre. All three of us come from different cultural backgrounds. Hideo is from Japan, I’m European and Paul is American and I think this culture difference blends into the trio creating something unique and I think that’s why we can play all these genres and blend it in and give people something that’s different. So we can cater to a wider audience.”
Lams and Mittino begin the New Year with select concert dates in the Northeast, featuring an area appearance at the intimate Kennett Flash.
"Kennett Flash is one of the first venues Fabio Mittino and I performed,” recalls Lams. Since then, I've played there three times with California Guitar Trio, and once with Stick player Tom Griesgraber. It is now one of my favorite venues to play on the East Coast.
It's run and sponsored by the local community, and has a really great atmosphere. It's cozy and inviting, right in the center of town, and one of the best places on the East Coast to listen to good music. "
Bert Lams and Fabio Mittino will perform at the Kennett Flash, 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, PA 19348, on Thursday January 4, 2018 at 8:00 P.M. For tickets and information, visit www.kennettflash.org.
To stay up to date with Bert Lams and Fabio Mittino visit www.mittinolams.com