Review | JAZZ-ON! “Invisible Chord 2nd”

jazz-on!

In “Invisible Chord 2nd”, fans can expect coming across Latin Jazz, jazz-rock and a quieter, more introspective brand of jazz.

JAZZ-ON! is a Jazz music project created by Akatsuki Inc. To get to know better about the story and each group including key visuals and first song previews, check THIS article.

Hoshikuzu Ryodan consist of Makoto Furukawa, Yoshiki Nakajima, Kento Ito, Yoshiki Murakami, Haruki Ishiya, Kengo Kawanishi, Takeaki Masuyama and Shun Horie.

SwingCATS consist of Yuki Yonai, Wataru Komada, Shunichi Toki, Toshinari Fukamachi, Genki Okawa, Makoto Ishii, Arthur Lounsbery and Shinichiro Kamio.


Title: Invisible Chord 2nd
Label: UNIVERSAL MUSIC JAPAN
Release date: 05/05/2021
Genre: Jazz

Tracklist:

1 - Invisible Chord 2nd 
2 - agitato 
3 - crossing notes
4 - Too much -1- [SwingCATS DRAMA PART]
5 - Too much -2- [SwingCATS DRAMA PART]
6 - Too much -3- [SwingCATS DRAMA PART]

Track by track analysis:

1 – Invisible Chord 2nd

The verses feature contrabass, rhodes piano, and trumpets exploring a slow-paced and slightly mysterious sound. They paint this song in a completely different color from its 1st take in “Invisible Chord 1st”.

There’s a danceable, Latin-jazz-inspired sound exuding from the chorus. There, the uptempo brushed drums and bouncy contrabass take over while saxophone and trumpets make sure you not only don’t miss a beat but are also one with the beat.

The solos section puts the spotlight on the poised rhodes piano melodies, fancy saxophone melodies and intense drums, putting the listener in the edge of their seat.

On the vocal end, this lineup of Wataru Komada, Shunichi Toki, Shinichiro Kamio and Arthur Lounsbery is really balanced, being able to tackle sustained notes, go for crescendos or harmonize without an issue.

Once again, my only quip with this song are the drama parts playing on top of the instrumental solo parts. It doesn’t sound good no matter how much they change the song.

2 – agitato

Changing things around we’re greeted with “agitato”, song that brings to the spotlight exuberant saxophone melodies on top of a fast-paced rock sound and bass-driven drums.

The verses are fast-paced, with the drums making a big impression for its variety and technicality. The chorus is especially tricky, shifting from rock playing style to jazz, changing the tempo and rhythm signature, giving away to an unusual progression and thus, sound.

The guitar riffs also stand out, particularly in the chorus when those shift from a rather aggressive style of playing to a speed-based style. Things get interesting from that point on.

The solos in this track are performed by electric guitars and saxophone, a mix that works fairly well although this time around I feel like both were rather brief.

On the vocal end, Shinichiro Kamio and Haruki Ishiya teamed up to deliver an energetic performance matching the speed and intensity of the chorus.

3 – crossing notes

Wrapping up this release is “crossing notes”, song that embraces a slow-paced, melodic sound on top of loungy rhodes piano melody and delicate saxophone, trombone melodies. The verses have an R&B undertone, flowing slowly while the instrumental is kept to a minimum.

There’s melancholy in the saxophone melodies painting the background. Similar tone is found in the trombone.

The solo in this track is the by far the best in this CD, even if brief. I’m particularly fond of melancholic, slow paced solos that carry a lot of emotion. This is one of those, with the saxophone and trombone shining.

Shunichi Toki and Yoshiki Nakajima team up for this song delivering a stunning performance, filled with a gentleness coming from their mid-tones and vibrato. This is the kind of performance that will instantly grab hold of your attention.


Final considerations

The JAZZ-ON! franchise keeps on showing its cards with interesting takes on jazz music.

For “Invisible Chord 2nd”, fans can expect coming across Latin Jazz, jazz-rock and a quieter, more introspective brand of jazz.

In this release, “crossing notes” stands out for its smooth loungy take on jazz music. I feel like that drop in tempo as well as the whole background to this track – with the rhodes piano being key – were the reasons why this song feels so good to listen to.

To add to the quality of the song there’s the vocals by Shunichi Toki and Yoshiki Nakajima that made quite the awesome duo. Both have strong mid-tones, can rise with ease on the scale and have a really gentle vibrato that sounds almost like they are carefully handling their lines.

agitato” was, as the name hinted, a fast-paced song with a flowing rhythm mixing rock and jazz in the same place. There are some sections of the song that may sound a bit out-of-place or overcrowded – which may lessen your enjoyment of the song. On the vocal end Shinichiro Kamio and Haruki Ishiya delivered an intense performance but it wasn’t anything out of the extraordinary.

A new release, a new take on the song “Invisible Chord”. This time around we have “Invisible Chord 2nd” and it went the Latin Jazz route, giving way to an insanely danceable tune. The drama parts midway through the solos still sound weird for me by the end of the day, taking away some of the enjoyment I was having with the song.

All in all, JAZZ-ON!’s “Invisible Chord 2nd” is a solid entry in the franchise. There are plenty of awesome moments, interesting solos and fancy performances that will make you want to listen to more from Hoshikuzu Ryodan and Swing Cats’ members.


Invisible Chord 2nd is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


Invisible Chord 2nd” is available for streaming on Spotify.

Do not support piracy. Remember to support the JAZZ-ON! franchise by streaming via official outlets.

SUMMARY

JAZZ-ON!’s “Invisible Chord 2nd” is a solid entry in the franchise. There are plenty of awesome moments, interesting solos and fancy performances that will make you want to listen to more from Hoshikuzu Ryodan and Swing Cats’ members.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Invisible Chord 2nd
agitato
crossing notes
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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