This article is about the Japanese fusion band. For other uses, see Cassiopeia (disambiguation).
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres Jazz fusion, funk, progressive rock, new wave
Years active 1976–2006, 2012-present
Associated acts Jimsaku, Ottottrio, T-Square
Members Issei Noro
Yoshihiro Naruse
Kiyomi Otaka
Akira Jimbo (Support)
Past members Tetsuo Sakurai
Takashi Sasaki
Masaaki Hiyama
Noriaki Kumagai
Hidehiko Koike
Minoru Mukaiya

Casiopea (カシオペア Kashiopea, Japanese transcription of the name of the constellation Cassiopeia) is a Japanese jazz fusion band that was formed in 1976 by guitarist Issei Noro, bassist Tetsuo Sakurai and keyboardist Hidehiko Koike. In 1977, keyboardist Minoru Mukaiya and drummer Takashi Sasaki joined the group, leaving Hidehiko out of Casiopea. The group debuted with the self-titled album Casiopea in 1979, featuring Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker and David Sanborn as guest musicians. In 1980, Sasaki was replaced by Akira Jimbo. Casiopea has released over 35 albums to date in both Japan and the United States.

Some of Casiopea's most famous tracks include Asayake, Galactic Funk and Eyes of the Mind.


The first record label to sign them was Alfa Records in 1979, with their first album Casiopea.

Galactic Funk first featured in their 1981 album "Crosspoint" which had around 10 different versions recorded both live and in studio.

The album "Eyes of the Mind" was released in the United States in 1981. They then released the album Mint Jams in 1982, followed by Four by Four the same year, which was a collaborative album with Lee Ritenour, Harvey Mason, Nathan East and Don Grusin (all except Don Grusin later became founding members of Fourplay). Their first overseas concert was held in the United Kingdom in 1983. The group has toured Europe, South America, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

In 1987, Casiopea signed to another Record Label, Polydor.

In 1989, Akira Jimbo and Tetsuo Sakurai left the band following several years of musical differences. They later formed their own duo-band, Jimsaku. For their replacement, Casiopea chose Yoshihiro Naruse (bass) and Masaaki Hiyama (drums). They signed to yet another record label, Pioneer.

In 1993, the group once again changed its members. Noriaki Kumagai came to replace Masaaki, and a year later, 1994, the group Signed once again to Alfa Records, but signed to Pony Canyon in the later part of the year. Then in 1997, Akira returned to Casiopea, this time as a part-time member, recording more albums and again contributing some of the compositions.

In 2000, The Group signed once again to Pioneer LDC. Only 4 years later, 2004, Pioneer LDC changed their name to Geneon Entertainment.

On August 1, 2006, Issei Noro, the group's leader, decided to freeze all activities of the band until further notice.

In 2007, Issei Noro (along with fellow Casiopea member, Akira Jimbo and several others) formed a J-Fusion group, "Inspirits". Issei Noro and Inspirits had released 2 albums since then.

In January 2009, Casiopea were involved with an album, "Tetsudou Seminar Ongakuhen", which was some music based on Minoru Mukaiya's Train Simulator Videogames. On May 27, 2009, A limited-edition box set consisting of almost all of Casiopea's albums, called "Legend of Casiopea", was released in commemoration of the group's 30th Anniversary.

On April 20, it was announced that Casiopea would return (the first concert being on May 9), with Kiyomi Otaka on Keyboards, replacing Minoru Mukaiya, who currently has his own music production team (Mukaiya Club).

Signature Songs


In Japanese, Asayake means Sunrise. The song was first recorded for their second album, Super Flight (1979), then re-recorded on their fourth album, Eyes of the Mind in 1981, and Live, for Mint Jams in 1982. The "Mint Jams" version is a regular favorite, and is often played as an encore number or last number. With the Bridge of the Song having Long notes, the lead guitarist (Issei Noro) has a free hand, to pump his fist for the next 1 and a half-measure of the song. The intro of this song consists often of a Rhythm-Guitar Riff. The 1995 J-Pop/Rap song, "Asayake" by Yuki Mori and MC Gaku samples the Intro Guitar riff from Casiopea's "Asayake" extensively.

Domino Line

The first recording of "Domino Line" was in Cross Point from 1981. Then it was performed for "Mint Jams" in a different arrangement. The "Mint Jams" version includes a part where each instrument plays a note or chord, then is followed by another in the next 16th Note, usually in this order: Drums, guitar, bass, keyboard. On "Mint Jams", This builds up to a technical and relatively long Bass Solo, followed by a drum solo. On the "Asian Dreamer" version from 1994, this break is modified to be played in different chords, times, tempos, etc. On Tetsuo Sakurai's Arrangement from "My Dear Musiclife", the song is further modified, adding a Saxophone solo.

Galactic Funk

Like Domino Line, the first recording of "Galactic Funk" was also in "Cross Point", featuring a solo from the Guitarist and Keyboardist, then the Drummer and Bassist trading solos. Then it was recorded with Guitarist Lee Ritenour, Pianist Dave Grusin, Drummer Harvey Mason and Bassist Nathan East on 4x4 (Four by Four) in 1982, with Both Guitarists trading solos, Both Keyboardists trading Solos, and a trade between the Bassists and Drummers collectively.

Space Road

This song was first recorded on Casiopea's debut Self-Titled Album, Casiopea (1979). This song is known for its Main Theme, which is repeated 4 times but modulated to an upper Minor-3rd each time. This song is usually played at the Early-to-Middle of their Live Concerts. The Live versions often include a break in which the Guitarist, Keyboardist, and Bassist play the same solo over the Chords from the Intro.

Black Joke

Like "Space Road", this song was included in Casiopea. Intro and ending of this song includes a lot of 16th-note-triplets in impressive unison phrases, and song to symbolize their technical aspects.

Eyes of the Mind

The first version of this song was included in Make Up City as "Eyes of Mind". Then, the song was released on its own album, Eyes of the Mind.

Offshoot Bands

Casiopea vs. The Square

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 T-Square Sax player Takeshi Itoh performed with Casiopea's Keyboardist, Minoru Mukaiya in 2006.


In 1987, T-Square's Guitarist Masahiro Andoh, and T-Square's Drummer Hiroyuki Noritake, had met Issei Noro (guitarist of Casiopea) and current KORENOS guitarist Hirokuni Korekata, and created a Supergroup called Ottottrio, and added in keyboardists Chizuko Yoshihiro and Shotoku Sasaji, and Bassist Chiharu Mikuzuki to make the band whole. The group released 3 albums, 2 in 1988 and one called "Triptych" 10 years later. 9 years before releasing "Triptytch", Ottottrio performed on "The Super Fusion" in 1989, with all members of T-Square and Casiopea, respectively, as well as Ottottrio's aforementioned backing band.

Synchronized DNA

In 2005, Casiopea Drummer, Akira Jimbo and T-Square Drummer, Hiroyuki Noritake, had a Drum Duo called "Synchronized DNA", who also played a concert with Casiopea, released as a CD called "Signal" and a DVD called "Casiopea + Sync DNA: 5 Stars Live".


Issei Noro and Akira Jimbo, along with Pianist Kent Ohgiya, Keyboardist Ryo Hayashi and Bassist Yuji Yajima, are all members of Noro's Band, "Inspirits", whom Noro has performed with since 2008. As of May 8, 2011, They've released 3 Studio Albums, one Live Album and one Live DVD.


In 2009, A director from Tetsuo Sakurai's record company suggested Sakurai to make his 30th anniversary album, released as "My Dear Musiclife". Sakurai accepted his idea but the director asked him to record "Domino Line" in it, as he played that song as Casiopea's Bassist (throughout 1979 to 1990). Sakurai asked the writer of that song, Issei Noro, for permission. Noro answered OK but he said he wouldn't take part in recording. Instead, Noro and Sakurai recorded a new song in Acoustic Arrangement.

The song was called "Mirage" and the album is called "My Dear Musiclife", and it was released on Sept. 9, 2009.

Since then, Noro and Sakurai have been on a Domestic Club tour as Pegasus called the "Nice to Meet you" tour.









    External links

    This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.