Well, on the strength (and there's plenty of it) of "Sea Line ~ Rie", I finally decided to put my money into Toshiki Kadomatsu's（角松敏生）10th album and 1st wholly instrumental release "Sea is a Lady" from July 1987. Not since the adoption of the classic "The Magnificent Seven" theme for those Marlboro commercials have I heard anything so suitable for a cigarette ad.
The gimmick for "Sea is a Lady" is that almost all of the tracks (all tracks were composed and arranged by Kadomatsu) have been given women's names, so along with Rie above, we're joined by the comely Akiko for "52nd Street". The first several seconds, though, had me wondering whether this would be a rare synthpop tune by the man before the piano and bass rolled right on in to reassure me that this would be no such animal. And then, of course, Kadomatsu's electric guitar made its appearance to definitively settle that question. But hearing that opener with the blippy synthesizer and rumbling drums, I think I know where contemporary aidoru group Especia had gotten its mojo.
Although the title is indeed "52nd Street", I still can't help but get that image of a seashore drive in Japan. Mind you, the sax and the flugelhorn solos bring some of the city. The flugelhorn was played by Shin Kazuhara（数原晋）, leader of Tokyo Ensemble Lab whose article I had just written about a couple of days ago. "52nd Street ~ Akiko" was also used as the opening theme for a local news broadcast in Fukui Prefecture. Their ratings probably got boosted a few points just on that theme alone.
Uh...perhaps I was a bit hasty in stating that "Sea is a Lady" was a totally instrumental album. Allow me to introduce you to Sawako, aka "Lovin' You". Mind you, it's just Kadomatsu and Hideki Fujisawa（藤沢秀樹）of the R&B band Jadoes providing some very brief echoes of vocals in this summery serenade. And to add to the trivia, Fujisawa is also known as DANCE☆MAN（ダンス☆マン）, the musician who would later add the oomph to Morning Musume's（モーニング娘。）biggest hits at the turn of the century.
When I heard "Midsummer Drivin' ~ Reiko" for the first time, I almost felt like I really ought to get a driver's license just for the pleasure of playing this high-energy starburst of a track on the onboard stereo. Not sure if convertible-driving Japanese heading down to Shonan or Hakone would be brave enough to blast this through the speakers, but man, what a driving song. The late Jake H. Concepcion and the aforementioned Kazuhara also had their hands in this one.
"Night Sight of Port Island ~ Midori (Night Flight of DC-10)" could indeed be one nice way to land you at the airport although listening through airplane-issued earbuds would be a sad method to listen to another Kadomatsu classic. Considering the title, I'm wondering whether the musician was approaching Kobe International Airport when he came up with the idea. This time, he's got the Tomoda Group to provide some epic strings.
Finally, let's finish things up on the album with the final track (without a name this time), the instrumental version of "June Bride". I did forget that this was the month for all of those graduations and weddings. After all of that musical excitement, it's nice to cool down a tad with something calmer, relatively speaking. Still, "June Bride" has that feeling of soaring through the clouds at points. It would be quite the thing for a honeymoon couple to be greeted with this in their suite as the sun is setting outside.
The original "Sea is a Lady" peaked at No. 4 on Oricon. However, 30 years later, Kadomatsu decided to release a rebooted version titled "Sea is a Lady 2017" that came out in May last year. Coincidentally enough, this one also peaked at No. 4. Here's Rie again to see you out.