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


Stomu Yamash'ta


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.52 | 54 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Do not pass Go

While rightly listed on this site along with the catalogue of Japanese percussionist and keyboard player extraordinaire Stomu Yamash'ta, "Go" is strictly speaking a band project. The equal billing, at least on the original album sleeve, of Steve Winwood (Traffic) and Michael Shrieve may have been primarily for marketing purposes, but there is little doubt about their influence here. All but one of the songs are actually composed by Yamash'ta (with lyrics by Michael Quartermain) , Winwood writing the closing number.

Even the naming of the trio by no means tells the whole story, as the extensive line up of supporting musicians includes Klause Schulze of Tangerine Dream and guitarist Al Dimeola.

The scene is set by the delightfully symphonic opening tracks "Solitude" and "Nature" the latter featuring the lush orchestration of renown arranger Paul Buckmaster. Winwood's first vocals of the album also appear here, his distinctive tones suiting the ambience of the piece well.

The tracks flow together as a continuous piece, a point emphasised on the LP version by the absence of separate track bandings. The album ebbs and flows through synthesiser waves, occasional vocal excursions by Winwood or choir, and other sundry instrumentation. "Crossing the line" features pretty much all of these, combining them with a strikingly beautiful melody.

At times, the music sounds improvised, with jazz patterns replacing the more structured rock sounds. Such incursions are kept in check though, the album as a whole being tight.

The second side of the LP is generally the looser, the jazz influences being much more dominant. Midway through, we even break into an up-tempo rock number, "Ghost machine", which features much rougher vocals by Winwood supported by distorted guitar.

The final track, "Winner/Loser", sounds rather out of place being a Steve Winwood composition which would have fitted in well on his debut solo album. It is a pleasantly orchestrated song, but is quite at odds with the rest of the album.

In all, an interesting album which offers an intriguing glimpse of this meeting of minds. The eclectic nature of the music gives the album a slightly unbalanced feel overall, but there is no doubting the class and professionalism of the contributing artists here.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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