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Stomu Yamash'ta - Stomu Yamash'ta, Steve Winwood & Michael Shrieve: Go CD (album) cover

STOMU YAMASH'TA, STEVE WINWOOD & MICHAEL SHRIEVE: GO

Stomu Yamash'ta

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.42 | 39 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 68

I must confess that about the Stomu Yamash'ta's musical career I'm only previously familiarised with The Go Project. But, I definitely want to explore deeper into his catalogue, now. Anyway, "Go", belongs to a very innovative musical project, at the time, with the same name and which was released in 1976. "Go" is the first album of Stomu Yamash'ta's fusion super group which became known as The Go Project. This project was composed of three albums, two studio albums and one live album, "Go", "Go Too" and "Go Live From Paris". We may say, in a certain way, that the first album of the project, "Go", is a concept album, fusing diverse musical styles, that range from rock, jazz, classical and electronic music, all connected by a central motif of space travel. The theme of the album deals with the change between fantasy and reality, death and rebirth, things changing to their opposites.

The line up on this super group's first album, is very extensive, and was formed by Stomu Yamash'ta (synthesizer, percussion and timpani), Steve Winwood (vocals, piano, electric piano, organ, guitar and synthesizer), Michael Shrieve (drums), Klaus Schulze (synthesizers), Al Di Meola (lead guitar), Pat Thrall (lead and rhythm guitar), Rosko Gee (bass), Chris West (rhythm guitar), Junior Marvin (rhythm guitar), Hisako Yamash'ta (backing vocals and violin), Bernie Holland (rhythm guitar), Lennox Langton (congas), Brother James (congas) and Thunderthings (backing vocals). All the songs were written by Stomu Yamash'ta with lyrics by Michael Quartermain, with the exception of "Winner/Looser" that was written by Winwood. Paul Buckmaster made all the orchestral arrangements.

Stomu Yamash'ta up to this point has gained great respect for his compositional skills in various styles of music ranging from soundtracks to jazz to classical to rock. In 1976 he formed this group with a line up that reads like a who's who of jazz and progressive rock musicians, Traffic's Steve Winwood, Tangerine Dream's Klaus Schulze, Michael Shrieve from Santana, Return to Forever's Al Di Meola. This is almost like a jazz progressive dream team. However, here on "Go", Stomu abandons his avant-garde and experimental tendencies for a smoother, more accessible sound, which melds space rock, jazz fusion, funk, pop, soul ballads and progressive rock into a hugely appealing concept work. The mood is a little less jazz and more space rock than expected, considering the players involved. Orchestration from Paul Buckmaster contributes to this aspect of the piece greatly. Originally two sides of vinyl listing songs separately but merged together, the album is a full-blown concept piece that is superbly performed.

So, "Go" has fourteen tracks and almost the tracks flow together as a continuous piece of music, with the exception of the fourteenth track "Winner/Loser", the only song written by Winwood. For that reason it sounds to me more a Winwood's song. As somehow it sounds as a concept album, I'm not going to review the album, track by track, as I usually do. However, there are some aspects of the album that must to be enhanced. In the first place, "Go" is a nice, calm and a beautiful piece of music, very experimental, with a spatial musical atmosphere, which makes of it quite unique. In the second place, on "Go", we can find diverse musical influences that range from rock, jazz, electronic and funk, good performances from all the musicians which are very well accompanied by beautiful voice choirs and backing vocals, competent orchestrations and the recorded, the release and the production of it are very professional. In the third place, to do justice to the presence of Winwood on the album, it's very well served by his voice on the tracks where he sings, giving a very special feeling to the musical ambience of the album.

Finally, there is a curious fact about "Go". In reality, the story of "Go" starts at the beginning of the side two and ends at the end of the side one. It means that if you want to hear the album with the correct sequence of the story, you must begin by side two. However, I always start to listen to it by the side one. Anyway, it's up to you. The decision is yours.

Conclusion: "Go" is quite a unique album that could appeal to prog, pop, soul, jazz and fusion fans alike. Jazz fans of course will want to listen to Di Meola and Shrieve. Fans of space music like Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream will want to listen to it certainly. Rock fans that enjoy Winwood's will like this as well. This is a case where the whole is somehow much more than the sum of its parts. Finally, I can say that definitely and deeply it also appeals to me. We are in presence of an excellent, very interesting and original musical project of the 70's, which is, in my humble opinion, very underrated on this site, not only the album but also all the project. Unfortunately, the prog reviewers have given very little attention to it. I know "Go" since it was released, and it always impressed me very deeply. I sincerely think that this album is an excellent addition and deserves to be part of any true progressive musical collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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