Primary Instrument: Band/ensemble/orchestra
Casiopea was a Japanese jazz fusion band that was formed in 1976 by guitarist Issei Noro and bassist Tetsuo Sakurai. In 1977, keyboardist Minoru Mukaiya and drummer Takashi Sasaki joined the group. The group debuted with the album Casiopea in 1979, featuring Randy Brecker and Michael Brecker as guest musicians. In 1980, Takashi was replaced by Akira Jimbo. Casiopea has released over 30 albums to date in both Japan and the United States.
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 some members of Fourplay, including Lee Ritenour, Harvey Mason, Nathan East and Don Grusin. Their first overseas concert was held in the United Kingdom in 1983. The group has toured Europe, South America, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
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).
In 1993, the group once again changed its members. Noriaki Kumagai came to replace Masaaki. 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 2006, Issei Noro, the group's leader, decided to freeze all activities of the band until further notice.