Three Friends To Hit The Big Apple
by John A. Wilcox
Never give up on your dreams. I learned that long ago. I'd followed the music of Gentle Giant since around 1976, but never got to see them live. I remember tracking down a used 8 Track of Free Hand at some hole-in-the-wall record shop next to the train bridge in East Norwalk back in the day. I absolutely adored me the Gentle Giant. Innovative albums like Three Friends, Octopus, and Interview burned up my turntable and tape decks. They still weave their magic on my CD players to this day. Sadly, the band broke up in 1980, after touring for the Civilian album, so that was that. Or so I thought.
Several years ago, Gary Green (founding member and guitarist of Gentle Giant) and Malcolm Mortimore (drummer on the classic Three Friends album) got together after decades apart with the thought of playing some of the wonderful music of GG live once more. Calling themselves Three Friends, the band at one point also included original GG keyboardist Kerry Minnear for a clutch of gigs. By 2010, the band was the Saturday night headliner at the prestigious Nearfest, in Bethlehem, PA, playing to an enthralled crowd. Since that show, the line up continues to evolve. In addition to Green, Mortimer, and vocalist Mick Wilson (who is also a current member of 10cc), 2012 sees 3 new Friends: bassist Lee Pomeroy (his resume includes stints with Steve Hackett, It Bites, and Rick Wakeman), keyboardist Gary Sanctuary, and violinist / multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Glasson.
I spoke on the phone a few days ago to Gary Green and asked for his thoughts on having Lee Pomeroy in the band: The music of Giant needs the definition of bass being played with a plectrum. The parts are so interlocked - it's not like a low bass accompanying some chords - it's counterpoint music. The bass line is as important as any of the other lines. It needs to have equal attention grabbing sonic value! It has helped make the band a lot punchier in that regard. Charlotte Glasson is the first regular violinist in Three Friends. Green again: She's playing violin, saxes - she's playing alto and baritone. She also plays mallets, tin whistle, and recorder. She's really good! Green also said that the addition of Glasson allows the band to add more violin-based tunes like Mobile to the set.
With what is hopefully a stable line up, Green envisions a live DVD and perhaps even new music from this ensemble. Green explains: What I'd like to do is to have some original music to do. We've been saying it for a long time - since the band started. Until then, Three Friends will continue to thrill audiences with it's energetic set of Gentle Giant classics. Gary Green will bring his SG & Fulltone OCD pedal on October 9 to:
B.B.King Blues Club & Grill
237 W. 42 St
Gary Green photos by John A. Wilcox
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