T-Square (band)

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T-Square
Also known as "The Square"
(1978 - 1988, 2003)
"T-Square"
(1988 - 2000, 2002, 2004-2007, 2009-2012, 2014-Current)
"T-Square and Friends"
(1991, 1995, 2002, with people who previously were never official T-Square members)
"T-Square Plus"
(2001 - 2002, 2013)
"T-Square Super Band"
(2008, 2013)
"T-Square Super Special Band"
(Mid-to-Late 2008 - Early 2009)
Origin 1978
Genres Jazz fusion
jazz
instrumental pop
smooth jazz
Contemporary Jazz
Pop Rock
Years active 1978 - Present
Labels Sony Music Japan (Japan)
Columbia Records (U.S.)
Associated acts Masato Honda, Hirotaka Izumi, Hiroyuki Noritake, Mitsuru Sutoh, Casiopea
Website http://www.tsquare.jp/
Members Masahiro Andoh (Guitar)
Takeshi Itoh (Sax, EWI)
Keizoh Kawano (Keyboard)
Satoshi Bandoh(Drums)
Shingo Tanaka (Bass)
Past members Shiro Sagisu
Miyagi Junko
Yuhji Nakamura
Yuhji Mikuriya
Michael S. Kawai
Kiyohiko Semba
Jun Aoyama
Eiji Shimizu
Daisaku Kume
Toyoyuki Tanaka
Tohru Hasebe
Hiroyuki Noritake
Hirotaka Izumi
Masato Honda
Keiji Matsumoto
Tadashi Namba
Shingo Tanaka
Takahiro Miyazaki
Kiyohiko Semba (Percussion)
Toyoyuki Tanaka (Bass)

T-Square is a Japanese jazz fusion band[1] that was formed in 1978. They became famous in the late 70s and early 80s along with other Japanese fusion bands.[2] Its most successful lineup included guitarist Masahiro Andoh, bassist Mitsuru Sutoh, saxophonist, flutist and EWI player Takeshi Itoh, keyboardist Hirotaka Izumi, and drummer Hiroyuki Noritake. They are known for songs such as "Truth", "Japanese Soul Brothers", "Takarajima", and "Omens of Love" among others. "Truth" has been used as the theme for Fuji Television's Formula One (F1) coverage from 1989 to 2000 and since 2012. An Arrangement of said tune, "Truth 21c" was used as the theme for Japan's F1 2001 and 2002, respectively, and other remixes of "Truth" were used from 2003 to 2006.

History[edit]

College Beginnings (1976 - 1978)[edit]

In 1976, in Meiji University, a small Jazz-Rock band began, with a very basic Jazz Band line-up. Bassist Yuhji Nakamura, Guitarist Masahiro Andoh, Pianist Jun Hakama and Drummer Shunichi Harada. According to Masahiro Andoh, The band's name was based on Madison Square Garden. Hakama and Harada were replaced by Miyagi Junko on keyboards and Michael S. Kawai on drums, and a young, debuting Takeshi Itoh joining in on Saxophone and Flutes, in 1977.

The Square (1978 - Mid-1988)[edit]

With backing Guitarist Yuhji Mikuriya, Keyboardist Shiro Sagisu and percussionist Kiyohiko Senba joining in 1978, The band was then named "The Square" since 1978, with a semi-generic, Disco-type sound. Lead Saxophonist Takeshi Itoh adopted the Lyricon as a Side Instrument, and The Square would begin the tradition of writing 1 to 3 songs with the Lyricon in every new album hereafter. As the early years of the band progressed, the number of members had dwindled from 8 members (2 Keyboardists, 2 Guitarists, A drummer, a Percussionist, Sax player and Bassist) to 5 (Drummer, Keyboardist, Guitarist, Sax player, Bassist). The group's sound was changed to Rock music when Bassist Yuhji Nakamura, Pianist Miyagi Junko and Drummer Michael S. Kawai were replaced by Drummer Jun Aoyama (better known as the Drummer of Tatsuro Yamashita's live Backing Band from 1979 to 2003), Bassist Toyoyuki Tanaka and Prism Keyboardist Daisaku Kume, who joined the band as a Support Member and left a year thereafter. Percussionist Kiyohiko Senba left the group altogether. Jun Aoyama was later replaced by Eiji Shimizu on Drums in 1981. Pianist Hirotaka Izumi came into the band, as their First Long-Term Keyboardist/Pianist. Then drummer Tohru Hasebe replaced Eiji Shimizu from then to 1985. Drummer Hiroyuki Noritake replaced him in 1986 as their first Long-Term Drummer, and then Bassist Toyoyuki Tanaka was replaced by Mitsuru Sutoh, who was their first Long-Term Bassist, since 1987. Takeshi Itoh would go on to exchange his Lyricon for an AKAI EWI, before the band made their first Release for the United States. It is believed that their first performance in the U.S. was at the Cat Club in N.Y. Before they made their way to the Roxy in Los Angeles, they realized there was already a group from the U.K, called "The Squares", thus, the name change was made, and the "T-Square" era had begun.

T-Square (Mid-1988 - 2000)[edit]

The band's performance at the Roxy marked their first live album as T-Square. 2 years later, Masato Honda debuted with them, as a Backing Saxophonist on the album, T-Square Live (featuring F1 Grand Prix Theme). The F1 theme being "Truth" from 1987. In 1991, T-Square's original Saxophonist, Takeshi Itoh, was replaced by former T-Square Backing/Support member, Masato Honda, who composed the opening track from T-Square's "New-S" Album (released in 1991), "Megalith". Honda carried Takeshi's Sax/EWI duties until 1998, when he left the group to pursue his solo career, after the release of "Blue in Red". Takahiro Miyazaki would replace him on Saxophone/EWI duties. At the same time, Hirotaka Izumi left T-Square, and was replaced by Tadashi Namba, who played Keyboards with Masahiro Andoh on the theme song from Gran Turismo, "Moon over the Castle" (from Masahiro's solo Album "Andy's", released 1996), as well as the T-Square arrangement of the song, called "Knight's Song" (from "Blue in Red", released in 1997). The group and all former and (at the time) current members played at Yaon de Asobu for their 20th Anniversary that same year. This is one of the last T-Square performances in which Masato Honda was involved (unlike Miyazaki and Itoh, Masato Honda didn't show up to the next 3 anniversary concerts in 2003, 2008, and 2013 respectively). In 1999, Tadashi Namba was replaced by Keyboardist Keiji Matsumoto. The new line-up of Miyazaki, Noritake, Sutoh, Matsumoto and Andoh was kept until mid-2000.

T-Square Plus and Session Members (2000 - 2002)[edit]

In the middle of the year 2000, the band was divided into T-Square (Original and long-term Guitarist Masahiro Andoh, Original, (at the time) Former, and returning Saxophonist, Takeshi Itoh, and Random Session Musicians) and Trio The Square (Bassist Mitsuru Sutoh, Drummer Hiroyuki Noritake and Keyboardist Keiji Matumoto). This trio is the main reason for why T-Square had to use Random Session Musicians to record with. Though, the performance of "Friendship Live" had T-Square's Long-Term drummer, Hiroyuki Noritake along with (at the time) Support Musician, and Current full-time Keyboardist, Keizoh Kawano, as well as Support Bassist Kiyoshi Murakami. T-Square changed its name again, to T-Square Plus, and Former T-Square Guitarist Yuhji Mikuriya, as well as former Seikima-II Bassist Shunsuke "Xenon" Ishikawa and session keyboardist Takehiro Kawabe, joined them briefly for 2002. T-Square Plus, as this incarnation of the group was called, dropped the "Plus" from their name, but kept using Session Musicians until 2003.

25th Anniversary, The Square/T Comes Back (2003)[edit]

In 2003, they released an album called "Spirits", under their original name, "The Square". and retained some of their original members (partly due to T-Square having its 25th Anniversary on that year), and kept their newcomer, Keizoh Kawano. The line-up was Itoh, Noritake, Sutoh, Kawano (support), Izumi and Andoh. They released another album that featured arrangements of some of their best known songs, called "T Comes Back".

New Band Members (2004-2008)[edit]

Since then, the Group changed their name again to T-Square. In addition to Mitsuru Sutoh being replaced by Katsuji Morioka on Bass in 2004, Morioka was replaced by Shingo Tanaka a year later. Both Morioka and Tanaka are Support Bassists. From 2000 to 2004, Keizoh Kawano was a support member on Keyboards; he became an Official Keyboardist in 2005, and drummer Satoshi Bandoh, who also composed several songs, replaced Hiroyuki Noritake in the same year. And T-Square's original Drummer, Michael S. Kawai, had returned to T-Square as a behind-the-scenes Percussionist and Producer from 2004 until 2008.

30th Anniversary and T-Square Super Band/Super Special Band, First Lineup (2008-Early 2009)[edit]

The band changed their name to T-Square Super Band, to promote their 30th Anniversary Tour, and the fact that most former T-Square Members were involved in recording their new album called "Wonderful Days". Adding even more former members (Except for Shingo Tanaka, because he was a Support Member and wouldn't have become official until 2013). This began in Mid-to-Late-2008 after the end of their "Wonderful Days" Tour), the group changed its name to T-Square Super Special Band and played on Yaon de Asobu for their 30th Anniversary Show. This video was released on February 2009 as "The Square~T-Square since 1978: 30th Anniversary Festival".

Self-Cover Era (2009-2012)[edit]

With the release of their 2009 Album, Discoveries, only 3 months after the release of the aforementioned DVD, the group dropped "Super Special Band" from their name and cut the members down to keyboardist Keizoh Kawano, drummer Satoshi Bandoh, Returning Support Bassist Shingo Tanaka, and the 2 original T-Square members, Masahiro Andoh and Takeshi Itoh. Discoveries was sold with a DVD which chronicled T-Square performing and rehearsing in 2008. In 2010, An almost-exact year after "Discoveries", they released a brand new album, "Jikan Ryoko"—which is the Japanese phrase for "Time Travel". This album was meant to showcase more of the songwriting abilities of the younger members of the group. In the Summer of that same year, they decided to re-record some of their Older songs and release them in October as an album called Takara no Uta: T-Square plays The Square. They would go on to release another original album, "Nine Stories" on April 2011. Some current and former T-Square members would tour with Satoshi Bandoh to promote his solo album, "Happy Life!" in late 2011. T-Square recorded another T-Square plays The Square" album, released late in October, much like last year. Keizoh Kawano recorded and released his own solo album, Dreams, the month thereafter. At the end of 2011, they performed a new song, 'Bird of Wonder', which was released with their 2012 album, Wings. The group later released another cover album, this time employing the help of special guest musicians.

35th Anniversary, T-Square Super Band (Second Lineup) and Rumors of Takeshi Itoh's Second Departure (2013)[edit]

This marks the second time that T-Square has branded themselves The "T-Square Super Band", now in promotion of their 35th Anniversary. They Retained all members of the Super Band from 2008, except for pianist Hirotaka Izumi. Percussionist Kiyohiko Senba, who was also an original member of The Square, is a member of T-Square's Super Band as of 2013. Shingo Tanaka was also promoted from being a Support Member and is now an OFFICIAL member of T-Square. Upon the Release of "Smile", the new T-Square Super Band Album, A Picture was included in the release, with Japanese Text/Kanji clearly reading something to the effect of "Itoh's Resignation", thus making fans believe that Takeshi Itoh has once again left T-Square. Even in their last album of 2013, (T-Square Plus - History), Itoh only performed on 2 Tracks of the album, adding more reason for the rumor to be believed.

NEXT (2013 - Present)[edit]

T-Square's 35th Anniversary Festival video (A concert performed in 2013) was released as a Blu-Ray in May 2014. Nearly a month later, their next album was released, "NEXT". Both of these releases prominently featured Takeshi Itoh, thus, he continues to be a Member of T-Square.

Offshoot bands[edit]

The following list includes bands that include multiple (former or current) members of T-Square.

AnMi2[edit]

AnMi2 are a guitar duo comprising the first two guitarists of T-Square, Masahiro Andoh and Yuhji Mikuriya.

Trio The Square/The Masato Honda Band/Voice of Elements[edit]

This group began as a result of Creative Differences between the Members of the T-Square Line-up of 1999-Early 2000, but the Trio began in Mid-1999, with Keyboardist Keiji Matsumoto, Drummer Hiroyuki Noritake and Bassist Mitsuru Sutoh as Trio The Square. Trio The Square disbanded in later 2000.

Later on that year, Hiroyuki Noritake and Keiji Matsumoto, along with Bassist Tomohito Aoki, Guitarist Jun Kajiwara, would become the Backing Band of Former T-Square Saxophonist, Masato Honda. The group didn't have an official name, but, was collectively dubbed by fans as "The Masato Honda Band".

The Masato Honda Band was put on hold in 2005, then fully deactivated in Early Mid-2006, to make way for Voice of Elements, which featured, again, Hiroyuki Noritake and Keiji Matsumoto. Tomohito Aoki, the original bassist of the Masato Honda Band, died of acute heart failure on June that year, therefore, he was replaced by Mitsuru Sutoh. As of Sutoh joining the group, Everyone who ever joined it was also a previous member of T-Square. Voice of Elements, as the band was called when they returned in 2006, continued performing and recording through 2007.

Ottottrio[edit]

This group was a Fusion Supergroup, led by 3 guitarists, T-Square's Masahiro Andoh, Casiopea's Issei Noro and KORENOS' Hirokuni Korekata. Along with Masahiro Andoh, Drummer Hiroyuki Noritake was another T-Square musician who was part of this group since 1988. Also, T-Square Bassist, Mitsuru Sutoh and (at the time) Future T-Square keyboardist, Keiji Matsumoto recorded with them at the end of 1998 (and actually joined T-Square a few months thereafter.).

KoreNoS[edit]

This band was formed in 2004, by Hirokuni Korekata, Hiroyuki Noritake and Mitsuru Sutoh. They released 2 studio albums, "Asian Street Style" (2004) and "Abracadabra" (2005). They also released a Live Album in 2007.

Casiopea vs. The Square[edit]

Although "Casiopea vs. The Square" was performed as a One-Off event in 2003, This extension of 2 different Jazz-Fusion bands goes back to 1993. Former Percussionist of The Square, Kiyohiko Senba, played on one of the songs from Casiopea's 1993 album, "Dramatic". A year later, Both Groups played an arrangement of The Beatles' "Get Back" on a Japanese Broadcast. 3 years after that, Casiopea, T-Square and Jimsaku played at Tokyo Jam 1997, with the same song. In 2003, Both Groups played (with some of the players replaced), at the event called Casiopea vs. The Square. Both Groups still have somewhat of an alliance, seeing as Casiopea's 1993 - 1997 drummer, Noriaki Kumagai and Former T-Square Bassist, Mitsuru Sutoh are both in TRIX. And Sax player Takeshi Itoh performed with Casiopea's Keyboardist, Minoru Mukaiya in 2006.

Synchronized DNA[edit]

Drummers Hiroyuki Noritake of T-Square and Akira Jimbo of Casiopea made a Drum Duo in 2003, after the "Casiopea vs. The Square" concert.

Pyramid[edit]

Pianist Hirotaka Izumi, ex-Casiopea drummer Akira Jimbo and Guitarist Yuji Toriyama, along with other Studio Musicians, form the band "Pyramid". They have released 3 Studio albums.

As Support Members for Other Artists[edit]

After the dissolution of Trio the Square, Mitsuru Sutoh and Keiji Matsumoto would later become Backing Musicians for Japanese Acapella Pop group, 'The Gospellers'. Sutoh also plays for TRIX (since they formed in 2004). Other recognized musicians in that group are Noriaki Kumagai (Casiopea drummer from 1993 - 1996).

Drummer Hiroyuki Noritake and Keyboardist Keizoh Kawano, along with Bassist Ko Shimizu (from Naniwa Express) would record as Support Members for J-Fusion/Rock guitarist Kumi Adachi in 2007-2008.

T-Square's current Bassist Shingo Tanaka is a former part of The 39's/The Thanks (39 in Japanese is pronounced Sanjyu Kyu, which almost sounds like Thank You). The 39's were a band that accompanied Concerts performed by Vocaloids, specifically the "39's Giving Day" concert series (again, that would sound like "Thanksgiving Day"), although the concerts themselves wouldn't necessarily be held on said day. During the final 39's Giving Day Concert in March, 2012, the band were also accompanied by Takahiro Miyazaki.

Discography[edit]

  • Lucky Summer Lady (1978)
  • Midnight Lover (1978)
  • Make Me A Star (1979)
  • Rockoon (1980)
  • Magic (1981)
  • Jungle Strut (1982)*
  • Temptation of Shapely Legs (1982)*
  • The Water of the Rainbow (1983)* (Original Title: うち水にRainbow/Uchi Mizu ni Rainbow, 1983)
  • Adventures (1984)
  • Adventures (Live) (1984)
    • The Square's first Live Release.
  • Stars and the Moon (1984)
  • R.E.S.O.R.T. (1985)
    • Includes "Omens of Love", which would later be lyricized and covered as "Wink Killer" by Kyōko Koizumi.
  • S.P.O.R.T.S. (1986)
    • Hiroyuki Noritake replaced Tohru Hasebe on Drums.
  • Truth (1987)
    • Mitsuru Sutoh replaced Toyoyuki Tanaka on Bass.
    • Their original Percussionist, Kiyohiko Senba, recorded on this album as well.
    • This album features one of T-Square's best-known songs, and their most remixed song, which the album itself is named after, "Truth".
  • Yes, No (1988)
    • This was their final Studio Album as The Square.
  • Live in New York (1988)
    • This was their final Live Album as The Square.
  • Wave (1989)
    • This was their first Studio Album as T-Square.
  • Natural (1990)
  • T-Square Live (featuring F1 theme)
    • This is Masato Honda's first recording with the Recently Renamed T-Square, However, he played in the Background, with a Brass Section.
    • This is also their first Live Album to use the T-Square name rather than The Square.
  • New-S (1991)
    • Takeshi Itoh is replaced by Masato Honda.
  • Farewell and Welcome (1991)
    • This is the first 'Farewell and Welcome' concert from T-Square, as the title implies, Takeshi Itoh is leaving the band (Farewell) and Masato Honda is taking his place (Welcome).
  • Refreshest (1991, first album as T-Square and Friends)
  • Impressive (1992)
  • Human (1993)
  • Summer Planet (Original Title: 夏の惑星/Natsu no Wakusei, 1994)*
  • SOLITUDE -Dedicated to Senna- (1994, as T-Square and Friends)
  • Welcome to the Rose Garden (1995, as T-Square)
    • Includes a track named "Prime Time", which is an arrangement of "Prime" from "R.E.S.O.R.T."
  • Miss you in New York (1995, as T-Square and Friends)
  • T-Square and Friends Live in Tokyo (1995, as T-Square and Friends, VHS Release)
    • This is the first Live Release from T-Square and Friends.
  • B.C.A.D. (1996)
  • Blue in Red (1997)
  • Gravity (1998)
    • Takahiro Miyazaki replaces Masato Honda.
    • The Limited Edition Version of this album includes "Japanese Soul Brothers", featuring both of T-Square's (at the time) Ex-Saxophonists (Masato Honda and Takeshi Itoh) and the (at the time) newcomer, Takahiro Miyazaki.
  • 20th Anniversary Performance at Yaon de Asobu (Live Broadcast, July 25, 1998)
    • This is the Only Live Concert to have featured all 3 Saxophonists.
  • Farewell and Welcome Live 1998 (1998)
  • Sweet and Gentle (1999)
    • Tadashi Namba was replaced on keyboards by Keiji Matsumoto.
  • T-Square (2000)
    • Due to creative differences, Takahiro Miyazaki, Mitsuru Sutoh, Keiji Matsumoto and Hiroyuki Noritake left the group after the release of this album.
  • Friendship (2000)
    • Takeshi Itoh, the group's original Saxophonist, returned to the group, however, the parts of Sutoh, Matsumoto and Noritake would be played by Session Musicians.
  • Friendship (Live) (2001)
    • This was Keizoh Kawano's Debut recording with T-Square as a Support Keyboardist. From here on, Kawano would perform with the group Live, but didn't record with them in Studio until 2002.
  • Truth 21c (2001)
    • This album contains arrangements of T-Square's best known songs, including, as the album name should imply, "Truth" (1987).
  • Brazil (2001)
  • New Road, Old Way (2002)
  • Vocal2 (or Vocal Square, released 2002)
    • Keizoh Kawano's First Studio Album with T-Square.
  • Spirits (2003 as The Square)
    • This album marked the official return of Mitsuru Sutoh, Hiroyuki Noritake and Hirotaka Izumi.
    • This album also marked the first time since 1988 that this group has called itself THE SQUARE.
  • T Comes Back (2003)
    • This album includes arrangements of well known tunes, Such as "Omens of Love '03".
    • The name was reverted to T-Square upon the release of this album.
  • Groove Globe (2004)
    • This album includes songs written by Keizoh Kawano, who finally became a Full-Fledged member of T-Square.
  • Passion Flower (2005)
    • This album marked the Debut of Satoshi Bandoh on Drums and, at-the-time Support Member Shingo Tanaka on Bass.
  • Blood Music (2006)
  • 33 (2007)
    • The name of the album implies and confirms that this is their 33rd Studio Album.
  • Wonderful Days (2008, as T-Square Super Band)
    • This album featured former members, Takahiro Miyazaki, Hiroyuki Noritake, Mitsuru Sutoh, Toyoyuki Tanaka, Hirotaka Izumi and Current Members, Satoshi Bandoh, Keizoh Kawano, Takeshi Itoh and Masahiro Andoh.
    • Shingo Tanaka wasn't involved in the Super Band recordings, or the Live Anniversaries, because he was a Support Member.
  • Concert Tour 2008 Final Wonderful Days (2008, DVD)
    • This is a Live Concert from the Super Band.
  • The Square ~ T-Square Since 1978 30th Anniversary (2009, DVD and Blu-ray, as T-Square Super Special Band)
    • This Concert includes former members, such as Tohru Hasebe, Toyoyuki Tanaka, Yuhji Mikuriya, Yuhji Nakamura, Takahiro Miyazaki, Michael S. Kawai, Mitsuru Sutoh, Kiyohiko Semba, Hirotaka Izumi, Hiroyuki Noritake and Junko Miyagi, and the 4 Official Members.
  • Discoveries (2009, as T-Square)
  • Time Travel (Original Title, 時間旅行/Jikan Ryoko, 2010)*
    • This album is made to give more exposure to the Songwriting work of the newer musicians of the group; Drummer Satoshi Bandoh and Keyboardist Keizoh Kawano.
  • Treasured Songs – T-Square plays The Square (Original Title: たからのうた/Takara no Uta – T-Square plays The Square, 2010)*
    • This Album became its own separate Series of Re-recordings of Vintage tracks from the era when T-Square was known as The Square (1978 to 1988).
  • Nine Stories (2011)
    • This album contains 9 tracks, 2 tracks written by each Current Official Member of T-Square, with 3 tracks written by drummer Satoshi Bandoh.)
  • Music Dream - T-Square plays The Square (Original Title: 夢曲 (ゆめのうた)/Yume Kyoku (Yume no Uta) – T-Square plays The Square, 2011)*
    • This is the Second album in a series of albums in which T-Square would cover songs from their beginnings as The Square.
  • Wings (2012)
  • Rainbow Songs - T-Square plays T- and The Square Special (Original Title: 虹曲/Niji Kyoku - T-Square plays T- and The Square Special, 2012)
    • This self-cover album features more of T-Square's music from the 1990s and features musical guests.
  • Smile (2013 as T-Square Super Band)
    • This album featured former members, Takahiro Miyazaki, Hiroyuki Noritake, Mitsuru Sutoh, Toyoyuki Tanaka, Kiyohiko Senba and Current Members, Satoshi Bandoh, Keizoh Kawano, Takeshi Itoh and Masahiro Andoh.
    • Also the first album to include Shingo Tanaka as an Official Member.
  • History (2013, as T-Square Plus)
  • T-Square 35th Anniversary 'Festival' (as T-Square Super Special Band, filmed on 2013, released 2014)
  • NEXT (2014)

(* - Denotes T-Square albums sold under their native Japanese Names, rather than with the album sold in English, as T-Square usually does.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Atkins, E. Taylor. Blue Nippon: authenticating jazz in Japan. Duke University Press, 2001. p. 28. ISBN 9780822327219. 
  2. ^ Atkins, E. Taylor. Blue Nippon: authenticating jazz in Japan. Duke University Press, 2001. p. 255. ISBN 9780822327219. 

External links[edit]