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Stomu Yamash'ta - Red Buddha Theatre: The Man From The East CD (album) cover


Stomu Yamash'ta


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.05 | 18 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I only own three of Stomu's albums but The Man from the East stands out for me. It meshes traditional Japanese sounds and Jazz with more 'western' instruments, usually with fine results. As a collection of music, I find it tighter and more focused than Go, and think that it possess a wider sonic palette when compared to Floating Music.

These differences are no doubt influenced by the fact that the album serves as a soundtrack to a live show from the 'Red Buddha Theatre' touring Europe in 1972/3 (though only two tracks are recorded live, in Paris, the others are studio cuts) and so the listener hears mostly instrumental music that is meant to be set to a performance. It makes for a lively 'A' side backed with a sombre, and at times, disconcerting 'B' side.

Opening the album is Scoop, one of the more upbeat tracks, with electric guitar, electric piano and horns creating a festive sound, whereas Ana Orori is more percussive with nimble flute playing throughout. Especially effective in the later half of the album is the haunting violin that builds Memory of Hiroshima to a rousing brass fanfare, before the beautiful Mountain Pass finishes things up with its hypnotic soprano saxophone lines. It makes for a soothing end to an album that has some wild moments.

Less effective for me, possibly due to the nature of a recording meant to support a theatre performance, are the live tracks; 'What a Way to Live in Modern Times' and 'Mandala.' Here melody takes a backseat to storytelling, though some frenetic soloing and vocal work is employed in these tracks.

Probably for fans who lean toward a jazz/rock sound, but with traditional eastern elements, rather than say, a symphonic sound, overall, this is a great album that gets a lot of time in my player. Coloured as it is with Stomu's distinctive percussive touches and his skill in melding instruments from the east and west, it has definitely inspired me to hunt down his follow up, Freedom is Frightening.

Note: My pressing, the Raven CD issue from Australia (which includes Floating Music) lists the tracks as below:

1. Scoop 2:59 2. Ana Orori 3:12 3. What a Way to Live in Modern Times 9:19 4. My Little Partner 4:01 5. Mandala 12:58 6. Memory of Hiroshima 8:43 7. Mountain Pass 3:45

Track picks: Ana Orori, Memory of Hiroshima, Mountain Pass

dreadpirateroberts | 4/5 |


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