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Brattleboro, Vermont, United States | SELF

Brattleboro, Vermont, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Bluegrass


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"JATOBA Shakes the beams @ Harlow's 2/2/08"

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Dana Unger
"Covering the latest from the NH Arts Scene"

Saturday night I headed over to Peterborough, NH to listen to funky and mellow guitar-based sounds of Jatoba. This young duo of Jason Scaggs and John Jamison hail from Brattleboro, VT and they brought their ecletic, head-bopping acoustic sounds to Harlow's Pub, packed with thirty-somethings, local granolas, and well-to-doers drinking the organic ales on tap.

They started their set off with a really solid cover of Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" (or Nirvana's, depending on how old you are) and gave it a cool flamenco flair. They also did a sped-up, unexpected cover of Stone Temple Pilot's "Plush" that was really close to bordering on Weird-Al comedic, but well-done nonetheless. It wasn't all covers though, and their own material was strong enough to stand on its own. They broke out some cool instrumental songs that were surprisingly well-constructed, but still managed to feel loose and toe-tapping (I say that in all seriousness, because several times I found myself bouncing my foot along to the music - I don't do that often). They also did one song where - I can't be sure - seemed to have a sampling of the musical score that played in Star Wars every time Darth Vader appeared on screen: "dum dum dum, da da dum, da da dum..." You know, "Vader's Theme." :) "Take Me Away" has a sound reminscent of early Blind Melon stuff and is one of the best and most crowd-friendly songs they perform. "Winds of Change" was a great slow acoustic number that had a Neil Young/Simon & Garfunkel feel to it.

Jatoba's diverse and interesting sound pulls influences from artists like Jack Johnson, Guster, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Rusted Root and even Radiohead with their experimental, somewhat psychadelic guitar hums and wails. At first blush, they may strike you as another drop in the New England acoustic jam band bucket, but they're far from it. They restrain themselves from the narcissic tendency some bands have to go off on ridiculously long jams, and while there are moments they show off their guitar/mandolin/banjo playing chops (they hit some crazy kickass notes on a few songs that had people whooping), its only because they can back it up and it never detracts.

Scaggs and Jamison are great performers, have a lot of fun onstage with each other and with the audience, and are genuinely passionate about the music, not stopping at all during the few hours they played. "A lot of times when you stop, people tend to leave," said a breathless Jason Scaggs after their performance. "We wanted to really keep the momentum going." They even managed to overcome the constant hum of crowd noise and rivet many heads permanently in their direction.

Earlier in the evening when I was sitting at the bar, I heard a guy next to me ask the bartender, "Is this going to be one of those bands that they move the tables for?" And though there was only a lone, possibly inebriated old-guy dancer that night, Jatoba proved to everyone in that place that they are indeed a band to move the tables in any joint they play.

Jatoba's next New Hampshire dates will both be held in Keene. On February 9, they'll play at Armadillo's at 7:00 p.m. and on August 30 at 9:00 p.m. at the Keene Music Festival.
- DANA UNGER @ www.18milesnh.com

"Brothers From Different Mothers"

The last time a sitar, two acoustic guitars, a baritone guitar, a banjo and a mandolin were all together on a stage in Boone, Anoushka Shankar gave a moving performance at Farthing Auditorium. This Saturday, those instruments are returning once again to the valley below Howard’s Knob and will provide the connection between musician and audience when Brattleboro, Vermont’s JATOBA takes the stage at Black Cat. Tickets are $5, and Gunslinger opens the show starting at 10:00 p.m.
Both natives of Roanoke, Va., Jason Scaggs and John Jamison started playing music together in 2000, having met in middle school. Since then, they have been in multiple bands in Colorado, Vermont and Virginia. Under the name Stillsounds, Scaggs and Jamison performed on the main stage at Yonder Mountain String Band’s Northwest String Summit Festival in 2004, and they have shared stages with bands such as Lotus, RAQ, The Breakfast, The Ordinary Way and Deadwood Revival among others. The duo’s most recent project is JATOBA.
Incorporating a unique blend of two acoustic guitars, baritone guitar, mandolin, sitar and harmonizing vocals, JATOBA defines their sound through collective songwriting and extreme rhythmic improvisations.
Shortly after Scaggs and Jamison joined forces and after realizing their symbiotic musical attachment, the duo made a pact in 2001 to always come back to play music together, no matter where life’s travels took them. After Jamison moved to Colorado in 2002, Scaggs followed suit and moved to Colorado to form Stillsounds with Jamison. When Scaggs moved to Vermont in 2005, Jamison returned the favor and moved to Brattleboro where he and Scaggs were part of the jam-fusion band Phil and the Fuzz for a few years before splitting off and forming JATOBA.
“By making the pact, well, it really worked out well,” said Jamison. “We have been able to keep it all together and keep creating music.”
Although the duo’s musical tastes have now grown together, it wasn’t always so. In middle school, Scaggs was an admitted Grateful Dead enthusiast, leaning more toward established and emerging jam band outfits. Jamison, although a fan of the Dead, focused more on teaching himself Doors and Led Zeppelin licks on the acoustic guitar.
“In high school, Jason was trying to pick up chicks playing Dave Matthews and Floyd on the guitar, and I was playing Jimmy Page licks,” said Jamison.
But as the days of high school got further away, both Scaggs and Jamison took an interest in world music—Jamison gravitated toward Middle Eastern sounds based around the sitar and Scaggs studied African and Cuban rhythms. From the duo’s case studies emerged a new sound that realized itself in an alternative acoustic atmosphere.
“Jason is more rhythmically based and I am more melody based,” said Jamison. “That’s the dynamic we have.”
From the moment Scaggs and Jamison’s picks stroke the guitar, their hands slapping the guitar body and their voices weaving in and out of harmony—such as on the duo’s single “Ready, Set Go!”—it is clear that the two musicians work well with each other. With piles of instruments in each musicians’ corner, the songs seem more like a conversation between two different people on the same subject. The musicians answer each other’s questions with whatever instrument they see fit. Offering very different answers—in the form of musical improvisation—the two have enough history of playing music together that it is rare to see one throw the other for a loop.
The most recent addition to the band is the sitar, played by Jamison.
Jamison’s uncle—the same man responsible for Jamison’s long love affair with playing music—owned a sitar while Jamison was growing up. When Jamison was a young boy, he took naps in the same room as the Indian instrument and strummed its chords in amazement. While visiting his uncle a few years ago, Jamison decided to take the sitar and learn how to play it.
Jamison took the sitar back with him to Colorado and began learning how to play the instrument from Roshan Jamal Bhartiya, a sitar master whom Jamison vows to return to one day for instruction.
Jamison plays the sitar often in JATOBA shows, but even when it is not in his hands, the rhythms, melodic progressions and influence of the sitar are present in JATOBA’s music. JATOBA’s song “Take Me Away” is comprised of dueling guitars, but the influence of the sitar is definitely present.
“Staring to learn the sitar has strongly influenced me—adding Middle Eastern style to my playing,” said Jamison. “I try to bring that Middle Eastern influence to guitar, or the style of Indian music in general. That music has a style to it and I really like that style.”
And the name JATOBA? According to Jamison, the name is “more of a poetic explanation of our music and life” and refers to the jatoba tree of South America. The jatoba tree’s roots run deep and are intertwined, much like Scaggs and Jamison’s musical life, travels and fans across the country.
For more information, click to www.sonicbids.com/jatoba or www.myspace.com/jatobamusic.
Want To Go?
Date: Saturday, January 19
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Location: Black Cat, Depot Street, Boone
Cost: $5
Roanoke, Va. natives Jason Scaggs (left) and John Jamison met in 2001 and now live in Brattleboro, Vermont. Since 2000, they have been in multiple bands and have progressed creatively as a duo. Under the name Stillsounds, Jason and John performed on the main stage at Yonder Mountain String Band's NW String Summit Festival 2004, and they have shared stages/bills with bands such as Lotus, RAQ, The Breakfast, The Ordinary Way and Deadwood Revival among others. Photo courtesy of JATOBA
- Story by Sam Calhoun, Assoc. Editor @ High Country Press - Boone, NC

"9/08 Interview"



Check out a very pleasant interview/review from Holly w/ UPSTATE LIVE MUSIC GUIDE.

This publication is spread through out all of New England... obviously we are very excited to be invloved.


"Oct. 08"

Currently making home base in Brattleboro, Vermont and rapidly gaining momentum in the Northeast, Jatoba has a different idea of how music should be. They rely mostly on each other and the paths their lives have taken for inspiration. When you hear that their instrumentation includes Double Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Baritone Guitar, Mandolin, Sitar, Banjo, and eerily spot on harmonies. You might think that they have a large ensemble, when in fact Jatoba consists of three people: Jason Scaggs, John Jamison, and Jeff Richardson. They have created a blend of music so unique that they had to create their own genre just to explain it. Acosta-Groove-Grass is Jatoba's very own description of how all of these rhythms fit together yet, it still barely implies everything that is going on when they play.
Sometimes the music is very light and dream-like. Yet, there is a prominent influence of traditional Indian music. Some of the more upbeat rhythms reflect traditional bluegrass and roots music, or classic rock in general. What draws you in and hooks you is that each song is unique in composition and style. It is like watching best friends having a deep conversation, each note mirroring and sometimes echoing the last. All mixed together in a musical journey that begins and ends in perfect time.
Jatoba recently graced the café stage at the First annual Sterling Stage String Fling where they showed their passion and versatility to excited festival goers. When there was a minor sound issue just before the band's acoustic version of Stone Temple Pilots "Plush," the band responded by going down off the stage and invited the crowd to come in closer to hear the completely unplugged song. Members joined Hot Day at the Zoo for an acoustic late night campfire jam, and also shared the stage with members of The Pluckin' Grassholes, Painted Blue, Kevin MacConkey, and others for the seemingly endless bluegrass version of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." - Selena Hodom w/ www.Thegroovelink.com


"Death, Fire & Picnic Tables" 2011
"Back Home" EP, 2012



Music patrons of all ages and backgrounds can find something to love about Jatoba. In four short years the Vermont-based trio has cultivated a unique and instantly identifiable brand of music, incorporating styles and genres from all corners of the sonic spectrum, and indeed the globe. In what they have dubbed as “groove-grass”, the three members employ quick bluegrass tempos driven by thumping, rockabilly-like bass lines, and accentuated with soaring three-part vocal harmonies. On top of this, they add effects-driven guitar solos, heavy rhythmic improvisation, beat-boxing, and even the occasional sitar interlude. Their debut album, Death, Fire & Picnic Tables, released in 2011, is a shining example of this eclecticism, and effortlessly showcases their song-writing talents, technical dexterity, and relentless energy.
Since first popping up on the public radar in 2008, Jatoba has accumulated a broad and deeply devoted fan base, both at home and around the Northeast, and has been a powerful force behind the revitalization of the previously lacking local music market. “This is not a ‘what you see is what you get’ group of guys. From their name, to their sound, to their bare feet on stage (weather permitting), and their quirky persona, Jatoba is making noise for the Southern Vermont music scene.” (Brian Joy, Editor Cider Magazine) With live performances that feature ample improvisatory jams, seamless flow, and effective crowd interaction, the band’s loyal following seldom stops dancing.
In addition to sharing bills and supporting artists such as Keller Williams, The David Grisman Quintet, Greensky Bluegrass, and Rusted Root, the group headlines an abundance of their own shows, delivering the same raucous synergy so apparent on recordings, but amplified in its intensity. During the summer months you can catch them at several festivals, as well as impromptu unplugged jams at Phish concerts, public parks, and main streets around Vermont.