T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Share
    avatar
    General Specific
    Lead Designer
    Lead Designer

    Male Posts : 1059
    Join date : 2011-07-19
    Age : 22
    Location : McKinney, TX

    T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by General Specific on Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:52 pm

    (This was a music appreciation article I posted over at CU, just for fun—enjoy!)

    Gentlemen—I'm here to talk about a very special band today. They once went by the name of The Square, but now they call themselves T-Square. They are a Japanese jazz fusion group that has been active for more than 30 years, heavily influencing the development of jazz fusion in their culture and leading to successful solo careers for many of its own musicians. And, as always, it's best to start with the musicians.

    The band was formed by two important people in Japanese music: Takeshi "T.K." Itoh, playing on lead alto sax and, in due time, Lyricon and Akai EWI instruments—and Masahiro Ando, doing main composition and playing on guitar. Takeshi was the lead saxophonist for T-Square ever since the late 70s, up until 1990-1 when he left to form his own successful solo career. Masahiro, on the other hand, happens to be the only permanent member of the band since its inception, and has also managed to have his own successful solo career, particularly making game soundtracks for the Arc the Lad franchise and Gran Turismo.



    The above track was the first from their third album, Make Me A Star—in the early years of The Square, there was a prominent dance-disco influence heard in the group, who put unique chord progressions with jazzy interludes to great fusion grooves. Takeshi and Masahiro were the only two permanent members of the band back then—coming straight out of college, they went around and performed with whoever they could get, and the results were interesting. Before their 80s period, where there was a definite T-Square formula now in place, the late-70s period was a time for frantic experimentation, which led to Make Me A Star, my favorite example of the era.

    In due time, though, new members, such as Mitsuro Itoh on bass and Hirotaka Izumi on the keyboards, would come to be permanent replacements for the guest performers and would help to define the 80s sound of T-Square even further.



    Albums such as S·P·O·R·T·S and Truth came to define the more rock and pop-influenced 80s style of The Square, with new and extensive use of wind instrument and keyboard synths alongside the usual saxophone and guitar sounds, and it was the titular track to the album Truth that helped the band achieve massive recognition in Japan, thanks to its use as the official theme for Japanese TV's coverage of F1 racing events. It was then that the band's popularity rose tremendously, and it was around the new decade that Takeshi finally made plans to leave and start his own solo career.



    And, in his stead, came around a new saxophone and wind instrument virtuoso by the name of Masato Honda. Masato originally played as a backup player for Takeshi during one of T-Square's live tours, but finally joined the band and led to the creation of New-S, their 1991 album that would evole the The Square sound, into the new T-Square sound.



    Masato's inclusion would have a profound effect on the overall sound of the band. There was now a lot more brass and brassy feel to the sound, and the melodies and overall compositions had become more upbeat and fast-paced, helped greatly by Masato's energetic and adverse improvisation. He also displayed proficiency in all sorts of instruments, most notably saxophone and EWI. When he left around 1998 to start his own solo career, a similar-sounding saxophonist by the name of Takahiro Miyazaki came in to fill the void, before Takeshi Itoh's triumphant return to the band with the album Friendship, in 2000.



    Today, the T-Square sound has retained many aspects of its 90s era sound, while returning to some of the aspects of the more-moody sound of the 80s The Square, and has even gone and revisited its earliest days in new style.



    Alongside Casiopea, Dimension, and many other influential J-Fuse bands, T-Square is potentially the most influential, and they've made great jazz-fusion to boot!

    (Alright—if you guys like this kind of article, I'll do another one on Casiopea and Hideo Shiraki, two other notable Japanese jazz groups. I liken this kind of music to Legends music due to its emphasis of catchy, memorable melodies—take some notes!)


    _________________


    Let's not get nosy, bub.
    avatar
    Edich
    Lead Writer
    Lead Writer

    Male Posts : 420
    Join date : 2011-07-19
    Age : 26
    Location : A windy desert

    Re: T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by Edich on Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:54 pm

    Well, you already know I'm a fan of T-Square(you made me one after all!), and I'd love to hear more about other influential jazz-fusion bands.

    I'd also love to hear something inspired from this kind of music somewhere in our game if fitting, I really do. It's great, catchy music and I can't find myself listening to much else lately.


    _________________
    I just keep moving forward; my eyes on the prize and my head in the clouds.
    avatar
    General Specific
    Lead Designer
    Lead Designer

    Male Posts : 1059
    Join date : 2011-07-19
    Age : 22
    Location : McKinney, TX

    Re: T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by General Specific on Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:56 pm

    ITT: Edich saves the day again!

    —I was planning on doing another band anyhow.


    _________________


    Let's not get nosy, bub.
    avatar
    0Dash0
    Official Musician
    Official Musician

    Male Posts : 53
    Join date : 2011-07-19
    Age : 29
    Location : Georgia

    Re: T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by 0Dash0 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:26 pm

    "Truth" happens to be my most favorite song by them. I forget which Year held the most epic version...

    ...As yes, here it is. 1991.



    For the longest time, I had this as my ringtone...now it serves as my alarm jingle. Razz

    Also, Takeshi Itoh (in his later years) looks so very similar to Nobuo Uematsu. Itoh would be the Sax player for those of you who have no clue. Very Happy
    avatar
    General Specific
    Lead Designer
    Lead Designer

    Male Posts : 1059
    Join date : 2011-07-19
    Age : 22
    Location : McKinney, TX

    Re: T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by General Specific on Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:37 pm

    It's pretty obvious if you read the article, I'd hope.


    _________________


    Let's not get nosy, bub.
    avatar
    0Dash0
    Official Musician
    Official Musician

    Male Posts : 53
    Join date : 2011-07-19
    Age : 29
    Location : Georgia

    Re: T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by 0Dash0 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:39 pm

    Some people don't read...like me. ^_^
    avatar
    General Specific
    Lead Designer
    Lead Designer

    Male Posts : 1059
    Join date : 2011-07-19
    Age : 22
    Location : McKinney, TX

    Re: T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by General Specific on Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:18 pm

    Some people do read—like me!


    _________________


    Let's not get nosy, bub.
    avatar
    LordGarza
    Official Writer
    Official Writer

    Male Posts : 425
    Join date : 2011-07-23
    Age : 23
    Location : Mexico

    Re: T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by LordGarza on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:00 pm

    Some people only read small posts, like me Very Happy

    Sponsored content

    Re: T-Square: A Fusion Pioneer

    Post by Sponsored content


      Current date/time is Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:45 pm