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Keiko Matsui

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Bio

Fusion/new age keyboard player Keiko Matsui grew up in Tokyo and took her first piano lesson at the age of five. Influenced by Stevie Wonder and Rachmaninov as well as early fusion masters Maurice Jarre and Chick Corea, Matsui began composing while in junior high but studied children's culture at the Japan Women's University (Nihon Joshidaigaku). She moved to the Yamaha Music Foundation in Tokyo after graduation and formed Cosmos, recording four albums with the new age group. Her first album as a leader, 1987's A Drop of Water, was released in the U.S. two years after the fact on Passport. The LP also featured her touring partner and husband, shakuhachi player Kazu Matsui, and was financed with their honeymoon money. A contract with MCA that year resulted in two albums, No Borders and Under Northern Lights. Matsui moved to the White Cat label in 1992 and began charting in the contemporary jazz charts. Her 1995 album Sapphire hit number one on the charts, and its follow-up also reached the Top Ten the following year. Whisper from the Mirror followed in 2000; Deep Blue appeared the next year. The Ring from 2002 recalled the composer's classical background, while 2004's Wildflower flirted with world music. Walls of Akendora appeared in 2005 with a smooth jazz flavor and updated version of Matsui's early hit, "Mountain Shakedown." Moyo, an album that placed Matsui's piano in an orchestral setting, followed in 2007 on the Shout! Factory imprint. After a world tour and numerous festival appearances, Matsui took some time off, eventually returning with The Road... in 2011 on Shanachie. She produced most of the disc herself -- and received help on some cuts from Richard Bona, Craig Burbridge, and Joe Chicarelli. The nine-tune set showcased Matsui's playing in a variety of settings from trio to octet. Some of her musical guests included Bona, Kirk Whalum, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Jackiem Joyner. That same year she collaborated with Bob James on Altair & Vega on eOne, which featured both pianists simultaneously sharing a single piano. 2013's Soul Quest featured all-new compositions, but its personnel included many old friends. It climbed to number six on the jazz charts and was followed by a two-year world tour that culminated in Live in Tokyo, an audio-visual disc package issued in 2015. Early the next year, while on retreat on Catalina Island, Matsui began reflecting upon her recent musical directions and commenced writing melodies toward the goal of a simpler, more organic recording. She enlisted the veteran Cuban rhythm section of bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Jimmy Branly. Peruvian guitarist Ramon Stagnero, and Venezuelan percussionist Luis Quintero, harmonicist Gregoire Maret, and a string section also assisted. The completed album, Journey to the Heart, was issued in August, marking her 30th anniversary as a recording artist. ~ John Bush
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Albums by
Keiko Matsui

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    10 songs

    On Air

    Journey To The Heart

    13 songs

    On Air

    Live In Tokyo

    10 songs

    On Air

    Soul Quest

    13 songs

    On Air

    Altair & Vega

    12 songs

    On Air

    Moyo

    20 songs

    On Air

    Walls of Akendora

    11 songs

    On Air

    Wildflower

    13 songs

    On Air

    Doll [Bonus Tracks]

    13 songs

    On Air

    Dream Walk [Bonus Tracks]

    13 songs

    On Air

    Sapphire [Bonus Tracks]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Cherry Blossom [Bonus Track]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Drop of Water [Bonus Track]

    13 songs

    On Air

    The Piano

    10 songs

    On Air

    Ring

    10 songs

    On Air

    Deep Blue

    10 songs

    On Air

    No Borders

    10 songs

    On Air

    Under Northern Lights

    9 songs

    On Air

    The Road...

    13 songs

    On Air

    Doll

    13 songs

    On Air

    Dream Walk

    13 songs

    On Air

    Sapphire

    1 song

    On Air

    Black Lion

    11 songs

    On Air

    The Very Best of Keiko Matsui

    12 songs

    On Air

    Collection

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