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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

3.41 | 38 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Every time I listen to Side 1 of this collaborative work, I wonder why it is not regarded as a lost progressive classic, but the answer might lie somewhere on the shapeless and insipid grooves of Side 2. While Yamash'ta is known more as a jazz/fusion artist, most of this is space rock, at times mellow and wonderful, at times slightly funky and equally wonderful, but too often lacking in development or character.

I would not be surprised if 90% of the effort was dispensed on Side 1, because the compositions, arrangements, melodies, directed jams, and vocals are all top notch, not to mention the sequencing of the material. There are several climaxes and several retrenchments. The blending of instrumental interludes and vocal tracks is executed to perfection, such that this sounds like a side long suite. As "Solitude" gives way to "Nature", Paul Buckmaster's orchestral arrangements are a revelation. Then it's Winwood's first appearance, accompanied my piano, rhythm section and more of Buckmaster. This might be what FOCUS would sound like in their quieter moments if they added strings.

"Air Over" and "Crossing the Line" make another lovely couple, the space sounds of the first slowly giving way to a timeless and mysterious tune. Yamash'ta's ethnic influences seem close to the surface here. The performance of Winwood in "Crossing the Line" is up there with his best, and light years beyond what he would attain stardom for a few years later. The orchestra remains in force to maintain continuity. I'm not sure who delivers the lead guitar solo, but if it is Al Dimeola he shows a remarkable adaptability to the mood of the disk, as it sounds nothing like his typical style.

This would almost be enough, but "Man of Leo" and "Stellar" form a third pairing to die for. The edge is harder and we are in more funky territory. Still it works as a contrast with the ethereal start to the album, and the full band collaboration in the instrumental "Stellar" is as good as it gets in that rare prog-R&B sub genre.

Unfortunately, as mentioned, side 2 is a major letdown, with a much less structured and authentic blend of space drivel and a few mostly conventional rock songs, the best of these being the TRAFFIC-like "Ghost Machine".

My advice is Go directly to Side 1 and enjoy one of the tighter and more accomplished cooperative and ego-free productions of its time. I'd love to give 4 stars, but for half an album, I cannot go there.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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