The band Yamagata has built a reputation for heavy groove rock with a tilt towards improvisational jamming. This thunderous and soulful Memphis band has toured coast to coast, building strong fan bases in large national markets. Yamagata has just released its' third album appropriately titled "Yamagata". Their 1999 debut release Eveland is a mostly instrumental album highlighting the band's technical abilities and desire to rock out and jam. The follow up to "Eveland", Connect was released in Summer 2002 with a solidified lineup and an approach toward songwriting and lyrics that fit the band's unique jazz-rock hybrid sound. Both albums received local and national critical acclaim. The band was nominated in 2000 for a "Jammy" award for Best New Groove, and has found itself collaborating with many contemporary acts such as New Orleans' Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Col. Bruce and the Codetalkers, the Disco Biscuits, Robert Walters, and Cecil "P-Nut" Daniels. Yamagata has covered the U.S., touring from Washington to Florida and San Diego to New York City while spending most of the last year in the familiarity of the South writing music and recording "Yamagata."
Flash forward to 2005. Yamagata's self titled, self produced release was recorded in the relaxing confines of their own studio in Memphis, the "Midtown Digi Dojo" and again calls on the helping hands of Kevin Houston and Brad Blackwood to fine tune the sounds. Yamagata has found a comfort zone between the instrumental exploration of "Eveland" and the tight songwriting of "Connect" to create an album that flows in and out of rock, blues, and jazz with high powered jams and soft melodic interplays. It has been said that the album sounds like what would happen to Pink Floyd if they spent a few months on Beale Street grooving with the Meters. Wrap your head around THAT! Clearly Yamagata's sound has made the transition from the late night stages to the studio. Special guests include Memphis production whiz and "space cat from hell" keyboardist Ross Rice (producer of "Connect") and FreeWorld's guitar chopmaster Brian Overstreet, reflecting upon the open vibe of Yamagatas live stage performances and initiating liftoff on a few of the album's instrumental tracks.
Formed in 97, Yamagata consists of Joe Austin on electric guitar and vocals, Jim Britt on drums and tablas, Jeff Waldon on sax and vocals. Our 'Bass' player Matt Kirby has recently started performing with a Ralph Novak 8-string guitar, formerlly owned by Charlie Hunter. With many influences from jazz to funk to heavy rock, Yamagata has been molding their original sound with the feel of classic rock riffs interlaced with flowing melodies of jazz on top of deep grooves and funky rhythms. This Memphis music has been twisted to produce an original sound that is undeniable. Along with the development of their own material, Yamagata covers a vast array of artists from the Beastie Boys, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Frank Zappa to Miles Davis.
As Yamagata continues to tour extensively, be on the lookout for their live show, for this is the best way to reach true Yamagata.