A couple of days ago, I got my periodic delivery of CDs from CD Japan once more, and one of the purchases was from the "Light Mellow" series of City Pop/AOR songs. This time, the latest entry is labeled "Travellin'" and the primary reason I got it was for one particular track from guitarist Makoto Saito（斎藤誠）with his cool and groovy "Aru Gray na Koi no Baai "（或るグレイな恋の場合）.
However and happily, I was able to hear some other nice tunes from "Travellin'" such as this one from Nona Reeves (ノーナ・リーヴス), the band that seems to wear a number of hats: pop, rock, Shibuya-kei and disco soul according to their J-Wiki article. But I have always seen Gota Nishidera（西寺郷太）and his crew as that group fulfilling that last genre, much to my satisfaction.
And Nona Reeves came through again on "Travellin'" with "Sweetness" which was originally a track on their 5th album from July 2003, "Sweet Reaction". Starting with that piano riff and then launching into a sunny weekend groove, it's all good for "Sweetness". Nishidera himself wrote and composed this ode to the beginning of a wonderful relationship, probably with a pleasant stroll through a park during the summer.
The album itself peaked at just No. 128 unfortunately but I think Nona Reeves has amassed enough of an audience over the years that they don't have to worry about such things as rankings.
Now, this article has also come about due to an announcement that I read just in the last hour or so. In this year, when it seems as if so many folks in the music industry have left this mortal coil already, it's sad to read that Rod Temperton, the master songwriter responsible for so many funky songs and some of the biggest hits for Michael Jackson such as "Rock With You" has also passed away at the age of 66.
For me, it had been just the song and the singer behind the mike that I was interested in but Rod Temperton was one of the first songwriters that became a beacon to me when I was identifying and searching for the the stuff that I liked. And although I don't think he ever created anything specifically for any of the Japanese artists along the lines of David Foster and Burt Bacharach, I'd say that his influence was felt on the music created by groups such as Nona Reeves.
This is another Rod Temperton piece for the Manhattan Transfer, "Mystery" that was also covered by Anita Baker in her debut album.