Yamagata is a 4-piece band hailing from the great state of Tennessee. Their sound spans across many genres of music including rock, funk, and jazz. Yamagata consists of Joe Austin on vocals and guitar, Jim Britt on drums and percussion, Matt Kirby on bass and vocals, and Jeff Waldon on sax and vocals. With many influences from jazz to heavy rock, Connect is an upbeat fusion of sax driven rock and roll. After listening to this album, I found myself wanting to hear these songs in a live setting where the stage would most certainly breathe life into them.

A song that comes to mind in particular is “SWD” the seventh track on the album. It’s a loose-ended jam that seems to inevitably be a template for a live jam session. With furious saxophone work and a lively organ, this song builds steadily and finishes with an explosion of sound. The twelfth track on the album “Blue My Water” was by far my favorite and had similarities to Page McConnell’s vocal styling on "Lawn Boy." Smooth vocals and a funky guitar provide for the perfect sounds for summer.

Featuring twelve original tracks, this album emphasized more vocals than their previous recordings. Each song on the album transitions well into the next. Yamagata utilizes great vocals and harmonies that contribute to a nice overall sound on the album. They breeze through fast, heavy bass lines and intricate time changes in great form. Among influences, subtle undertones of John Coltrane and Rush work their way into this recording. Overall, Yamagata has put out a quality recording with Connect.

Daniel Rudas
JamBase | San Rafael
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[Published on: 8/2/02]

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