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Members of the “groovegrass” band Jatoba play in 2017, the year the Brattleboro-area-based band stopped performing regularly. Three original members will return for a concert on Nov. 10 to celebrate the release of the band’s third CD.

The Arts

‘Now or never’

Jatoba closes a chapter with the release of a long-awaited third album — and a party to celebrate its difficult gestation

The “Last Man Standing” CD release party, featuring Jatoba and a performance by the Gaslight Tinkers, will take place Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Stone Church, 210 Main St., Brattleboro, from 8 to 11 p.m. Tickets are available at jatobasc.brownpapertickets.com ($12, general; $15, loft) or $15 at the door. Information: jatobamusic.net.

BRATTLEBORO—Jatoba played its last regular show in 2017, but, in the words of member Jason Scaggs, the self-described “groovegrass” band has “left some loose ends hanging around."

Like the CD that was crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2015.

But that album, the band’s third, is now complete, and a CD release party will celebrate the arrival of “Last Man Standing” on Saturday, Nov. 10, with three of its original lineup — Scaggs, John Jamison, and Jeff Richardson — back on stage together.

“Jatoba used to have a really big scene in New England,” said Scaggs, of Chesterfield, N.H., who says the trio is expecting fans from all over New England for the rare performance.

On its profile on the music website reverbnation.com, the band has 4,639 fans. On Facebook, 3,942 people have liked Jatoba’s band page.

‘Soaring three-part harmonies’

The band was formed as a duo with Jamison and Scaggs in 2008, with its first show at the Tinder Box, a former performance space on Elliot Street. Richardson came aboard in 2009.

Former members include Elliot Jacob New and Marcel LeClaire.

Jatoba performs music that offers what promotional materials for the band have called “quick bluegrass tempos driven by thumping, rockabilly-like bass lines and accentuated with soaring three-part harmonies.”

Scaggs has played guitar and banjo for the group with “a slew of stringed instruments at his side,” according to the band’s website, jatobamusic.net.

Jamison, of Brattleboro, “focus[es] on guitar, mandolin and sitar, he strives for a unique blend of bluegrass, tinges of Indian classical music as well as jazz, folk, classical and, of course, rock and roll which are all blended into his personal style.”

The two have occasionally performed as Jatoba Duo.

Jeff Richardson, one of the band’s original members who plays upright bass, will rejoin his former bandmates.

Also performing in the celebration will be the Gaslight Tinkers, whose members play music where “African, Caribbean, Funk, Reggae, and Latin grooves meet traditional fiddle music,” according to their website, new.thegaslighttinkers.com.

Based in Brattleboro, the band’s members include Audrey Knuth (fiddle and vocals), Jopey Fitzpatrick (drums), Garrett Sawyer (bass), and Peter Siegel (“oh, you know — guitar, banjo, mando, vocals, an’ stuff”), according to its Facebook page (facebook.com/pg/thegaslighttinkers/).

The band members predict “dancing, [and] most definitely some rowdy rambunctiousness.”

“We’re really excited about the show!” Scaggs said.

Closing a chapter

The release of the album “closes a chapter in the book of Jatoba,” said Scaggs.

The road from performance of the music to manufacturing of the CDs has been a slow one for “Last Man Standing,” with the album, which attracted more than $5,000 in donations from 61 fans, inching to completion over four years.

Scaggs said he was asked this summer to put together a bluegrass band to perform at weddings around New England. He turned to Jamison and Richardson to join him.

That, he said, marked the first time they performed together since Jatoba’s disbanding. Since then, “We’ve been riding a high that’s been reminiscent of how it used to be,” he noted.

Scaggs said that he and Jamison, buoyed by renewed energy and enthusiasm, personally paid the balance of the funds needed to complete the long-stalled album, whose expenses had exceeded the revenue from the crowdfunding.

“We felt it was now or never,” Scaggs said. “We chose now!”

In addition to the band members, violinist Phil Bloch of Dummerston performs on a handful of tracks of “Last Man Standing.”

Other local professionals have had their hand in the production, including Jacob Stradling, former director of FACT-TV in Bellows Falls, who helped with the design. Scaggs’s wife, Erin, who co-owns Elliot St. Fish and Chips, photographed the musicians for the cover.

The trio will be prepared to provide backers with their promised music.

“If you can make it to the show, we will have a list of people and the awards they are owed at the merch table,” the band wrote to backers on Kickstarter. “If you can’t make it, we will be mailing them out shortly after the show.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #484 (Wednesday, November 7, 2018). This story appeared on page B1.

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