Monday, March 09, 2015

Concert review: Laurence Juber brings guitar craft to Lord Of The Strings series

Review and photos by Robert Kinsler

Laurence Juber performing at Lord of the Strings
concert on Saturday, March 7, 2015.
Since beginning his professional career playing guitar as a teen in the late 1960s, Laurence Juber has won acclaim on a number of artistic fronts. The native of East London gave up a successful career as a studio sessions guitarist to join Paul McCartney's Wings in 1978 where he was a member of the famous rock troupe until the band disbanded in late 1981 (he earned his first Grammy in 1980 for the Wings nugget "Rockestra Theme"). He has since gone on to even greater fame as a groundbreaking fingerstyle guitarist and composer,  as well as a producer (he has produced and played on four Al Stewart albums including Between the Wars and Sparks of Ancient Light). Last year saw the release of his wonderful photographic memoir Guitar With Wings providing his fascinating first-hand account of his time with Wings embellished with hundreds of wonderful photos capturing life in the studio, at the McCartney's farm and on tour.

On Saturday, March 7, Juber's singular magic performing solo instrumental guitar was showcased throughout a two-hour concert staged in Mission Viejo, CA as part of the Lord Of The Strings concert series. The winning set included a number of his own memorable compositions, as well as stellar arrangements of classics penned by Lennon & McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Harold Arlen, Steely Dan and others.

A tireless combination of groundbreaking technique, mix of alternate and standard tunings, and inventive arrangements allowed Juber to dazzle while using every part of his Martin guitar. But a final and almost intangible ingredient came courtesy of a bona fide emotional connection Juber has with the material that made this night something special.

The fact that Juber could mine new depth out of oft-reworked material including Lennon's epic "I Am the Walrus" and the Hendrix classic "Little Wing" confirmed Juber's gifts. His original "Cobalt Blue" works as a beautiful composition, but was embellished at times by Juber hammering the wood on his guitar or bending strings in gentle ways to power the piece without adding overwrought dramatics.

Other highlights of the night included the blues-jazz shadings on an interpretation of  Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on My Mind" a ragtime-styled original "Fingerboard Road" (the title track off his latest album) and a powerful version of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" that thrilled the audience. The beautiful original "In Your Arms" dedicated to his wife Hope, was enhanced by elements of Spanish flamenco revealing additional elements of Juber's far-flung fingerstyle wanderings.  

For more information on the Lord Of The Strings concert series, visit: For more information on Juber, visit his official site at

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