STOMU YAMASH’TA & EAST WIND
Stockholm 1974 [no label, 1CD]

Live in Stockholm, Sweden, Sept 28, 1974.

Imagine a Japanese in London playing progressive rock? Stomu Yamash’ta was more than that. He was an innovator as well. This show from 1974 is a rare recording of a lost period. His albums of the time, 1973′s influential Freedom Is Frightening, remains unissued on CD. So is the One By One LP with his East Wind band from 1974. This show in Sweden captures that period with East Wind.

This is what Progarchives.com has to say about Stomu: “Yamash’ta is probably best known nowadays as the leader of the supergroup GO with Stevie Winwood, Al Dimeola, Klaus Schulz and Michael Shrieve for three albums and related performances.

“However, prior to forming GO, he played not a small part in nurturing musicians who were subsequently better known for playing in important ’70s UK jazz rock groups, e.g. Brand X and Isotope – this is worth expanding since this aspect of his work is often neglected on the web. Yamash’ta attracted musicians such as Morris Pert and Gary Boyle (previous known for working with Brian Auger) to his “Red Buddah Theatre” project/recording (one of the few albums available on CD) and then on several later recordings. Morris Pert with that other future Brand X player Peter Robinson recorded first as Suntreader.”

Others in Yamash’ta’s circle included ex-Soft Machine Hugh Hopper who together with Gary Boyle contributed to Freedom Is Frightening released around July 1973. The band did one live gig at London’s Roundhouse in December. Then it was back to the studios in January 1974 to record One By One.

This East Wind show in Sweden in September was presumably to promote One By One. The band by this time only had Brian Gascoigne of the original studio lineup. It’s not clear who is doing the vocals on Tk 1. In fact if there is a knowledgeable reader who can help identify the tracks, please email us. We think it’s probably tracks from Freedom Is Frightening or One By One.

The music itself seems to herald Yamash’ta’s next phase – the Latin-y rhythm and style of GO. The guitarist sometimes sounds like Santana. Listen to Tk 4.

Yamash’ta was one of the most high-profile Asians in the west’s rock music scene. He even wrote music for the soundtrack to Ken Russell’s The Devils. He attracted many of the big names to play with him and showed how east and west could blend.

After leaving the scene in 1980, Yamash’ta retreated to a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. He still records “space music” from time to time.

This concert is taken from an FM recording. It’s in excellent quality. Isn’t it sad that the only available music from this period of Stomu Yamash’ta’s career is an old FM recording? To share his original albums as digital downloads is criminal but whoever owns the copyright is unwilling to release it.
- Professor Red

Thanks to propylaen for sharing the lossless tracks on the internet.

Click here to download the tracks.

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