Review | JAZZ-ON! “Tone of Stars Beta”

jazz-on!

JAZZ-ON!’s “Tone of Stars Beta” doesn’t surpass the quality of previous entries yet it is still packed with interesting bits.

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, Kent 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.


Tone of Stars Beta JAZZ-ON!
Title: Tone of Stars Beta
Label: UNIVERSAL MUSIC JAPAN
Release date: 02/06/2021
Genre: Jazz / Pop

Tracklist:

1 - Tone of Stars Beta 
2 - Reveal 
3 - We are here 
4 - 傷だらけのユニゾン -1- [DRAMA PART]
5 - 傷だらけのユニゾン -2- [DRAMA PART]
6 - 傷だらけのユニゾン -3- [DRAMA PART]

Track by track analysis:

1 – Tone of Stars Beta

A rhodes piano and organ give life to a unique jazz tune.

Tone of Stars Beta” has an elegance to its verses with the drums going bonkers, leading you to the playful chorus that embraces a bossa nova type of beat and guitar work. As a result, the chorus is addictive and, easily, the best part of this song.

This may go unnoticed by I love the detail about the castanets being used as a transition to the 2nd verse.

The bridge counts with solos by trumpets, saxophone, and organ, matching the spoken lines that are in that part. As mentioned in previous reviews of the “Tone of” CDs in the JAZZ-ON! franchise, I feel like the spoken lines midway through completely break immersion and most certainly enjoyment from this song.

As far as vocals go, this is quite the powerful lineup with Kento Ito and Yoshiki Nakajima being the resident power vocals but let’s not forget about Haruki Ishiya and Kengo Kawanishi that matched the quality and intensity of the leading vocals in this track.

2 – Reveal

Back with a duos track, this time around with “Reveal”, song that brings to the spotlight a Latin-inspired Jazz sound however with an interesting twist with the addition of the synths.

The verses are intense and fast-paced with ¾ drums creating one hell of a technical sound while the piano adds a playful tone to this song. The chorus carries over from that, adding a bit more synth work on top, which makes it so that the song starts to stray away from jazz territory.

The song counts as well with a fancy contrabass solo, something I was not expecting given how the sound in the verses ends up building up to almost Eurobeat midway through.

On the vocal end, I was not expecting to find Genki Okawa shouting his way through this song. Seriously, I was expecting the consistency and control he usually has but his vocals, in contrast with Kent Ito’s were clearly louder – way too loud in some parts – which arrived as unexpected.

As a result, he does not sound good in this song and the harmonies barely work with Kent Ito due to his shouting along to the song. A pity because the song was shaping up to be quite interesting.

3 – We are here

Wrapping up this release is the emotional jazz tune “We are here”, kicking off with dramatic atmospheric synths at its core as melancholic trumpet and bass trombone melodies harmonize in the background.

On top, a sweet piano melody and a simple hip-hop-inspired beat create a unique sound, trendy take on jazz music.

While the verses are quiet and introspective, the chorus is intense, exploding in intensity and emotion, with Arthur Lounsbery and Kengo Kawanishi powering their way through.

The song introduces as well rapping by Kengo Kawanishi, something that is unexpected however, seeing how the instrumental for this song is a fusion of music genres and hip-hop is already there at its core, it ended up sounding really good.


Final considerations

JAZZ-ON!’s “Tone of Stars Beta” doesn’t surpass the quality of previous entries in the franchise yet it is still packed with interesting bits.

For one “We are here”, a song performed by Arthur Lounsbery and Kengo Kawanishi, stands out for its fusion of music genres.

It is introspective and melancholic – feelings that jazz music is usually perfect fleshing out – and as such, you find drums in a jazz signature, trumpet, and trombone melodies but things start changing midway through, welcoming new and different elements to the mix.

When the song reaches the chorus, it has evolved from pure jazz to a mix of jazz, pop, and hip-hop. It is addictive and quite possibly fairly easy-listening even for those that aren’t that big fans of jazz music.

While good songs “Tone of Stars Beta” and “Reveal” have issues at their core. For starters, in both songs, the dialogue lines in the middle of the bridge, completely ruining the instrument solos is still something I don’t understand how it came to be because it doesn’t sound good.

Then, in “Reveal” there is the issue with Genki Okawa screaming his parts while Kent Ito is carefully performing his. As a result, there is a lack of balance within the song, the harmonies didn’t work at all, and, overall, no matter how good the instrumental sounds, the vocals drag the quality down a whole lot.

All in all, “Tone of Stars Beta” didn’t improve upon previous entries, still, there are some interesting tunes – purist jazz or fusion – for you to enjoy and lose yourself in the fun music genre that is jazz.


Tone of Stars Beta is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


“Tone Of Stars Beta” is available for streaming on Spotify.


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

SUMMARY

“Tone of Stars Beta” didn’t improve upon previous entries, still, there are some interesting tunes – purist jazz or fusion – for you to enjoy and lose yourself in the fun music genre that is jazz. "We are here" stands out as the best song on this CD even if it drastically strays away from jazz music the most you progress through the song. "Reveal" is an awesome jazz tune, however, issues in the performance drag it down, and "Tone of Stars Beta" focuses more on the dialogue lines than on putting the spotlight in the solos something that has been a trend for the last couple of releases. If you can go past those issues, all songs in this CD are enjoyable and bringing interesting things to the spotlight.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Tone of Stars Beta
Reveal
We are here
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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