While in not so sunny SoCal last week, I did get a chance to see Willis play a concert with Wirechoir, a five guitar ensemble, with added rhythm guitar, bass, and drums, at a church in Redondo Beach. I'm familiar with guitar ensembles from Willis' college days, but did not know the concept extended beyond academic music departments. The original Wire Choir, formed in the 70's by guitarist Tony Rizzi, featured a number of LA session guitarists, in particular, Jimmy Wyble, who came to fame with Bob Wills and his western swing ensembles. Upon his death, the Rizzi family gave the Wire Choir charts to the USC music school, where Terry Carter was studying (and Willis as well). Terry was impressed by the idea and has resurrected the guitar ensemble concept. The new Wirechoir now performs around the LA area and features some of the current crop of top guitar talent in that area.

The concert was quite enjoyable. My experience with guitar ensembles is one of mixed blessings, it's hard for the group to keep things together, particularly without dragging. However, Wirechoir does have its feces together, and kept things on a pretty even keel. Their arangement of Miles Davis' "Four" can be heard or downloaded here.

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