Review | Takaaki Mamiya “amethyst×citrine”

VAZZROCK

Takaaki Mamiya‘s “amethyst×citrine” puts jazz music as the centerpiece for 2 exciting performances filled with a touch of elegance and fun.

VAZZY comprises Tarusuke Shingaki (leader), Yusuke Kobayashi, Masahiro Yamanaka, Yusuke Shirai, Tsubasa Sasa, Shun Horie.

ROCK DOWN comprises Yukitoshi Kikuchi (leader), Yoshiaki HasegawaTakuya SatoTaito Ban,Takuya Masumoto, Keisuke Koumoto.


Title: 眞宮孝明-amethyst×citrine-
Label: MOVIC
Release date: 30/04/2021
Genre: Jazz-Rock / Rock

Tracklist:

1 -ドラマ「大人になったキミとボク」 
2 -ドラマ「大人にならないキミとボク」 
3 - Forbidden Night (Takaaki Mamiya solo track)
4 - Tokyo Sunday Night (Takaaki Mamiya and Naosuke Oyama duet)
5 - Forbidden Night -off vocal- 
6 - Tokyo Sunday Night -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

3 – Forbidden Night

Forbidden Night” welcomes the listener to a dimly lit jazz bar soundscape. Bright brass opens the curtain to jazz’s allure with fancy piano melodies, fast-paced drums, and punchy contrabass fleshing out this classy soundscape.

Funky guitar riffs, buzzing trumpets and trombone give a life to this song while the splashy drums quickly shift between tempos, starting off slowly but shifting to faster paced sections within the verses, picking some pacing in the pre-chorus for a later fast paced take on the fancy chorus.

Those tempo changes are in line with the improvisation that is characteristically part of jazz music and, in this case, with some funk into the mix, make the song extremely danceable and groovy while retaining the elegance of jazz.

On the vocal end, Tarusuke Shingaki goes for an upbeat performance with a lot of flair, riding on his mid-toned vocals, only lowering the key in the chorus, adding some sprinkles of allure to this track. His charisma and confidence shine in this assertive performance that you’ll want to listen to time and time again.

4 – Tokyo Sunday Night

A contrabass leads the way for “Tokyo Sunday Night”, song that actually shifts from jazz to a mix of classic 50s rock and folk.

The verses are upbeat and uptempo with a lot of focus on its bassy sound. Guitar riffs are simple, mostly filling out the background to this song while drums warm up this song with a full snary beat and a tambourine fills in the rest.

This is not your typical VAZZROCK song, that much I can tell you.

On the vocal end, Tarusuke Shingaki and Tsubasa Sasa are on the same page. Their vocals are complementary to each other’s, they have a flair about their performances that is rather unique, it’s almost like they’re “showmen”.

Their ad-libs, those small details in the backing vocals, the way they tackle the lyrics. They were in perfect sync, delivering a solid performance.


Final considerations

Takaaki Mamiya makes quite the entrance with his 3rd entry in the bi-color CD series.

There’s a lot going on in the “Forbidden Night”, the solo track in this CD. At its core, this is a song in which jazz music is king however, in an interesting twist, funk takes center stage through the guitars, and what you get with this song is a bundle of elegant fun with a lot of allure on top, courtesy of Shingaki’s performance.

On the other hand, “amethyst×citrine” includes “Tokyo Sunday Night”, song that explores a classic rock sound with some hints of folk. This is a first in the VAZZROCK franchise.

While entertaining, I didn’t feel it was an interesting song to listen to more than once. Yes, the vocals are pretty good but the instrumental has little variety in it – as in, changes in tone, pacing, tension and a climax -, thus, for those listening to it, while it is an entertaining song, it never ends up being an interesting song or a song I’d recommend checking for newcomers.

This is already the 2nd entry in a row in this 3rd season that has stellar solo tracks but subpar duets. Let’s hope the next releases – with more exciting lineups – will change this around.

By the end of the day, “amethyst×citrine” shines in its solo section while stumbling a bit in the duet part. Still a good entry, especially if you fancy jazz and, in a way, want to wind down to a simple classic rock tune.


Mamiya Takaaki -amethyst×citrine- is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

SUMMARY

“amethyst×citrine” shines in its solo section while stumbling a bit in the duet part. Still a good entry, especially if you fancy jazz music. This is the first time the VAZZROCK franchise goes all out with jazz music and, instead of bringing in elements from the genre, simply embraced it, and who better than Tarusuke Shingaki to perform music in this genre? At the same time, if you're looking for something different from usual in the VAZZROCK franchise "Tokyo Sunday Night" might be a good pick. Classic rock with some jazz on top ends up being rather entertaining.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Forbidden Night
Tokyo Sunday Night
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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