Stomu Yamashta Seasons
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Stomu Yamashta was born to be a musician. His father was the director of Kyoto Philharmonic and after studying at the Kyoto School Of Music he joined the orchestra as a percussionist in 1960. So, no surprise that his music is heavily percussive in form.
He moved to Europe in the mid sixties, playing with notable classical and Avant Garde composers and conductors and developing his style along the way. In 1969 he gained worldwide recognition during a concert with Seiji Ozawa and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Time reviewed the concert declaring 'the star of the evening was Stomu Yamash'ta who stole the show with his virtuoso performance', and when it was over the audience gave him a five-minute standing ovation.
So, to this collection. He recorded seven albums for Island Records from ’72 to ’76 developing fusion jazz and classical themes. Features early on were the balance of percussion and piano as well as drawing on tuned steel pipes and xylophone. The albums here combine a number of soundtrack albums with four albums of his own compositions in more of an album structure.
Throughout the albums it is fascinating to hear the music touching on western and eastern forms, always with a strong percussive feel but also drawing from some of the finest progressive musicians around. Performers such as Steve Winwood, Hugh Hopper, Michael Shrieve, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze, Pat Thrall worked with him to develop his intense and atmospheric soundscapes.
At times, the music is hypnotic, at others, driving passionately and at others presenting a huge musical soundstage where the listener is invited to work their way through complex themes and structures.
There are moments in this box that are annoying but I found myself drawn, time and again, into the complex interplays and strands. A wonderful collection of music that has many flaws but also and great many more triumphs.