Back in the 1980s, I was getting into all sorts of music whether it be New Wave, AOR and R&B along with the rest of the Billboard pop hits. However, although I wouldn't profess my interest in jazz until many years later during my second stint in Japan, I confess that there had always been some spark that was attracted to the genre that's pretty much a century old now. Part of it was due to growing up to those old records of standards and another reason was hearing those hits from The Manhattan Transfer such as "The Boy From New York City" and "Tuxedo Junction".
And then there was the above song that I used to hear on heavy rotation on both AM and FM radio. It was a one-hit wonder for the group with the memorable name of Elbow Bones and the Racketeers but man, did I like their "A Night in New York" from 1984.
I've got the same vibe with this snazzy number by a unit called microstar, "Yuugure Girl" (Sunset Girl) from September 2011. There's a bit more technology involved here when compared to the Big Band instruments from "A Night in New York", but there's no denying to me that it is one lovely tribute to that age of jazz. Still, I'm having some trouble categorizing it since although there is that obvious jazz edge to it, I'm also wondering if it can also be included in pop or even Shibuya-kei.
Putting on my music sommelier's hat right now, that snazzy description I used in the previous paragraph had me also thinking of "Yuugure Girl" as something reminiscent of EPO's "Doyou no Yoru wa Paradise"（土曜の夜はパラダイス）since EPO can also be said to quite snazzy in her songs and vocals. Plus, for some reason, I also hear "Who Are You?", the duet with Fujimal Yoshino and Haruko Kuwana（芳野藤丸・桑名晴子）. "Yuugure Girl" is a melodic reason to be happy about strutting down the city streets and painting the town red and flashing a lot of green.
Trying to look up what this microstar is all about, I eventually tracked things to the J-Wiki entry for Seiki Sato（佐藤清喜）, a music producer, composer and arranger from Iwate Prefecture who made his major debut for a band called nice music in 1993. In 1996, a bassist and vocalist Yuko Iizumi（飯泉裕子）who participated in nice music's concerts joined up with Sato to form microstar as a duo. They've released 5 singles up to 2016 with "Yuugure Girl" being their 3rd; there are also 4 albums to their name.
For the YouTube comments underneath "Yuugure Girl", I kept seeing references to Kanashii Android Apartment（悲しい ANDROID - APARTMENT...Sad Android Apartment）. Not knowing what this was all about, I found out that it was another unit or individual doing a bit of Japanese Future Funk/Vaporwave (not sure if that latter concept has become too dated) treatment to the song to form "Lonely Highways". Once again, thank you, Artzie Music. And of course, thank you microstar. I now have a theme song to which I can walk on the streets in Ginza and Akasaka to. I may not be able to enter most of the establishments there but I can certainly walk (or swing) proudly around them.