rock

Pia no Jac Eat a Classic Album Review

→Pia-no-jaC← from Osaka, Japan, present a driving fusion of jazz, rock and J-pop on this This piano-cajón duo's sophomore album.
→Pia-no-jaC← was founded in 2005 by pianist Hayato Tatsunari and percussionist Tadahiro “Hiro” Moritomi. →Pia-no-jaC← is a combination of Hayato and Hiro's instruments: “piano” and “cajón”.

 

The duo performs over 150 concerts a year. They have toured in France, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Tickets for →Pia-no-jaC←'s “Back in the Japan Tour” in 2010 sold out within five minutes. The duo is currently on tour throughout Japan (“First Light Tour 2012”).

 

This jazz group's music is a fusion that incorporates J-pop, Jazz, Rock and Classical. Hayato and Hiro describe their music as “hybrid instrumental” and they seek to entertain audiences with their technical ability, showmanship and humour shine through.

 

→Pia-no-jaC← has worked with several heavy hitters in the Japanese entertainment industry, including commercial creator, Michihiko Yanai, composer/director Joe Hisaishi, ARASHI and SQUARE ENIX. The duo has released nine albums to date.

 

Eat a Classic Highlights

 

Eat a Classic injects a fresh twist to well-known classical pieces, including Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy".

 

“The Swan Lake” (Track 3) is a slow sultry jazz number. There is a wide dynamic range to this piece, soft and melancholy for the main theme and impassioned for the riffs. Some very bluesy riffs break out on piano between statements of the main theme. The percussion varies slightly in between the statements of the main theme. The balance between the two instruments is superb.

 

“Habanera” (Track 5) pays homage not only to Georges Bizet but Dave Brubeck. The syncopated driving rhythm steadily builds up to the main theme, which is filled with octaves and fifths, as well as twisting and turning triplets. The middle section is calmer, Coquettish. When the A section returns, it's more intense, with the percussion pushing the piece to a climax.

 

“Ode to Joy” (Track 6) starts dark and stormy in a minor key before the main theme is introduced. This number displays a wide range of dynamics, moods and rhythms. Like the rest of the CD, it is technically challenging and musically exciting.

 

Eat a Classic is an upbeat album that shows that displays a fun side to classical music. The album is a classic (pun intended) example of Pia no Jac's “hybrid instrumental” style.

 

Eat a Classic Track Listing

 

1. Fugue in G minor (BWV 578) – J.S. Bach
2. Trepak from The Nutcracker - P.I. Tchaikovsky) and Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld - J. Offenbach
3. The Swan Lake, Op. 20 (Act 2) – P.I. Tchaikovsky
4. Prelude from Act 1 of Carmen – G. Bizet
5. Habanera from Carmen – G. Bizet
6. Symphony no. 9, Op. 125 (4th movement: "Ode to Joy") – L. van Beethoven

 

Label: BounDEE, 2009
Catalog Number: B001MT1JWQ
 

Check out Eat a Classic or some of Pia no Jac's music by clicking on the CD icon below:

Eat A Classic / Pia-no-jaC
Pia-no-jaC

(c) 2012 by Rhona-Mae Arca, Musespeak(TM). All rights reserved.

Pia no Jac First Contact Album Review

→Pia no Jac←from Osaka, Japan, present a driving fusion of jazz, rock and J-pop on this This piano-cajón duo's debut album.

→Pia no Jac←was founded in 2005 by pianist Hayato Tatsunari and percussionist Tadahiro “Hiro” Moritomi. The band name is a combination of Hayato and Hiro's instruments: “piano” and “cajón”.

In the early days, the pair performed everywhere from footbridges and shopping malls to ballet classes and night clubs. The duo has since performed in France, Thailand and Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

This jazz group's music is a jazz fusion that incorporates J-pop, Jazz, Rock and Classical. Hayato and Hiro describe their music as “hybrid instrumental” and they seek to entertain audiences with their technical ability, showmanship and humor shine through.

→Pia no Jac← has worked with several heavy hitters in the Japanese entertainment industry, including commercial creator, Michihiko Yanai, composer/director Joe Hisaishi, ARASHI and SQUARE ENIX. The duo have released nine albums to date.

First Contact Highlights

The opening track, “Suite Quote-unquote” is a fast-paced number that showcases the music duo's hybrid style. The opening theme is sounds like a piano exercise performed at a breakneck tempo, but when combined with a frenetic groove on the cajón, it becomes something different. It then switches from a Latin flavor to a bit of swing.

"Floral Heartstring (Canon)" (Track 4) is a sweet number. The piece is Baroque in form (canon), while the melody is romantic in nature. The cajón is very subtle, allowing the dreamy melody to soar throughout on the piano.

The final track, “Jack” brings the album to a dramatic close. It's an aggressive blend of boogie and rock. The piano has several boogie and blues licks, containing equal doses of syncopated rhythms and rapid chromatic runs. Rock and combined with a driving galloping groove resound on the cajón.

First Contact is fun album with catchy tracks that showcase this music duo's “hybrid instrumental” style. One word of advice from one listener to another: If you tend to have a lead foot on the gas pedal, do not drive while listening to the fast numbers on this album (or any →Pia no Jac← album, for that matter). This album is bound to raise any listener's energy level.

First Contact Track Listing

  1. Suite Quote-unquote
  2. Erosion
  3. Run Rabbit Run
  4. Floral Heartstring (Canon)
  5. blue moon
  6. Jack
  7. BONUS: First Contact  contains the video clip of 組曲『 』(Kumikyoku)

Produced by: Keiichi Kato

Label: Shinko Music Records, 2008

Check out Pia no Jac's music at CD Japan by clicking the icon below:

First Contact / Pia-no-jaC
Pia-no-jaC

Pia no Jac Website

Pia no Jac on Twitter

(c) 2012 by Rhona-Mae Arca, Musespeak(TM). All rights reserved. 

More Exercises for Music through the Ages Exploration

This is becoming more and more enjoyable as the days go by. I stumbled upon a new approach towards the end of the week for the Music through the Ages Exploration: comparing and contrasting the evolution of a genre through the decades.

Angie, a high school student, decided to explore pop at her lesson. She picked Kalafina, a Japanese band formed in 2007. She contrasted and compared that to ABBA, the 70s pop/disco group from Sweden. Finally, we came back to North America with Celine Dion, the pop sensation from the 80s - today. We had a great discussion about music texture, timbre and compared and contrasted pop not just from the 70s to today, but from one continent to the next.

Today, some of my students explored Bee Gees, ABBA, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Elise Estrada, UVERWorld, The Eagles, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus and Merle Haggard. Regardless whether it was young Mia or elementary student Emma, we were able to have intelligent conversations on:

  • instrumentation/timbre: My students dutifully reported that country music still uses primarily voice, guitar and percussion and that there are more crossover artists these days. Those crossover artists have more electronic music sounds and "sugar pop" drum grooves. They added that pop/rock has gone more electronic.
  • the development of the music videos: They express a great appreciation for Michael Jackson's and Madonna's pioneering contributions.
  • the evolution of dance in live performances: "They just stood there and sang in the 70s. There's more dancing and acting now."
  • the deterioration of melodic shape, dynamic contrast and rhythmic variance: Some were quick to notice that the melodies are getting flatter and that the rhythms are getting more basic. Ostinato seems to be the modus operandi. As for dynamics, "everything's louder", "it's just one level" and "they yell more" were popular comments.

As for me, I'm happy to report that I sill know the lyrics to Billie Jean, Material Girl, Dancing Queen and most of Desperado.

[October 29, 2009 update] My singing teacher recently said that today's country is yesterday's rock. Check this out:

Carrie Underwood's Cowboy Cassanova (intro)

compared to

Listen to the drum groove and the guitar rhythm and chords around the 0:48 mark. (c) 2009 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Gig Music Selections

I just drafted up my playlist for the "rock music" wedding this upcoming long weekend. The book I am using for most of the ceremony is a lot better than I thought it would be. Pretty decent arrangements. Here are some of my favourite books that I like to use at gigs throughout the year:

Classic Rock

Lounge Music Collection

Lounge Music look inside Lounge Music (E-Z Play Today Volume 162). By Various. For Organ, Piano/Keyboard, Electronic Keyboard. E-Z Play Today. Softcover. 104 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.100049)Smp_stars50 (6) ...more info

 Best Fake Book Ever

I recently purchased a jazz fake book but the title escapes me. I'll add that onto the list at a later date, once I've had a chance to try it out.

(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.