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Keiko Matsui, jazz
r – Saxofón
Free sounds and unique performances on stage has been
the main features on Keiko to make her one of the best on our times.
Venue: Teatro Degollado
Time: 20:30 Hrs.
Keiko Matsui: Heart & Soul
Moyo, Swahili for “heart and soul,” is an inspirational release from keyboardist Keiko Matsui. It was recorded on location in South Africa with musicians including Gerald Albright, Paul Taylor, Richard Bona, Akira Jimbo and Waldemar Bastos. The album is a melodic work of art, in which she allows the listener into her experiences, those which she chronicles through twelve poignant tracks.
Although she has sold 1.2 million units in the U.S. alone and has sold-out appearances at concert halls across the world, there is much more to Keiko Matsui. She is wholly centered in her spiritual beliefs and they are infused into her compositions; and as if that weren’t enough, grapes and rice are cultivated to her music. She is an innovator and prodigious talent of such magnitude that cannot be fully understood until you see her perform her melodious revelries live.
I recently caught up with Keiko Matsui at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California. Apart from taking in a breathtaking performance, I was able to discuss Moyo: Heart & Soul (Shout Factory, 2007), and her recent expedition to South Africa.
Pianist Matsui sees music as a magical expression
By: JIM DAIL - For The Californian | Wednesday, May 2, 2007
There's a stereotype about Japanese children, musical talent and domineering mothers. While Keiko Matsui was a Japanese child and had musical talent, her mother was not enamored with creating a musical genius through harsh perseverance.
"My mother took me to piano lessons when I was five, which is quite common in Japan," said Matsui, who will perform with Steve Oliver on Sunday as part of the 2007 Champagne Jazz Concert Series at Thornton Winery. "I loved it from the beginning. She never told me to play or forced me. I was a very active kid in many ways and didn't have to focus all my energy on being a great musician. I played outside until the sun came down."
As a result, the pianist has crafted a wonderful career, despite the fact she was never focused at a young age on being a critically acclaimed musician.
"I never thought about being a professional musician," she said. "I never had made that decision, but when I was in high school I took private lessons and wrote a score for a movie in Japan. From there, I got a position playing professionally."
Her career began with the release of "A Drop of Water" in 1987, and since then has become a mainstay on the concert scene.
Like most pianists, she started playing classical music, which she loves to play. And like many jazz musicians, here music isn't that easy to label.
"I don't really consider myself jazz," she said. "My music is an expression of myself. Sometimes it sounds jazz, sometimes world music, sometimes something else. I don't believe that there are true borders in music."
Her new album, "Moyo," is a collection of global influences, featuring a number of jazz stars, such as trumpeter Hugh Masakela and sax player Gerald Albright.
"I decided to produce the record on my own because I wanted to take my music in a different direction," she said. "Since I was already performing in South Africa I decided to do a lot of the record there. I knew the people there and the great musicians that are there and I used them."
She also did recording in Japan and the United States, so the album, whose title means heart and soul in Swahili, is truly a global endeavor.
"I wanted it to have a rhythm section that was true to the feeling so I used South African musicians," she said. "I had an idea and structure and I decided that there was room to receive something magical."
Part of the magic is seeing the expressions and reactions of those around her.
"It was really fun," she said. "I got to see all the fans and even though the recording could get a little unorganized it had a good feel to it. One of the hardest things there was wondering if my piano would get there or not."
While Matsui sees her studio work on a global level, her live performances seem a bit more on a personal level.
"Playing live there's an intense feeling," she said. "A concert is special to a musician because you can dedicate your soul and energy and receive new energy from a crowd. It's very exciting."
That said, she doesn't have a favorite between studio and live work. Indeed, for Matsui it remains about the music, which to her is one of the greatest gifts.
"Music is a gift from the universe or from God above or another spirit," she said. "It can show culture, language and history. It connects us."
Keiko Matsui, Moyo: Heart & Soul (Shout Factory, 2007)
Keiko Matsui, Walls of Akendora (Narada, 2005)
Keiko Matsui, Summer Selection (Sony/Columbia, 2004)
Keiko Matsui, The Very Best of Keiko Matsui (GRP Records, 2004)
Keiko Matsui, Wildflower (Narada, 2004)
Keiko Matsui, White Owl (Narada, 2003)
Keiko Matsui, Live in Tokyo (Sony/Columbia, 2002)
Keiko Matsui, The Ring (Narada, 2002)
Keiko Matsui, A Gift of Life (Narada, 2001)
Keiko Matsui, The Wind and the Wolf (Pione, 2000)
Keiko Matsui, Keiko Matsui Live (Countdown, 1999)
Keiko Matsui, Full Moon and the Shrine (Countdown, 1998)
Keiko Matsui, A Gift of Hope (Unity, 1997)
Keiko Matsui, Dream Walk (Countdown, 1996)
Keiko Matsui, Sapphire (White Cat, 1995)
Keiko Matsui, Cherry Blossom (White Cat, 1992)
Keiko Matsui, Night Waltz (Sin-Drome Records, 1991)
Keiko Matsui, No Borders (MCA Records, 1990)
Keiko Matsui, Under Northern Lights (MCA Records, 1989)
Keiko Matsui, A Drop of Water (Passport Jazz Records, 1987)
Cosmos, Keiko Project (Canyon Records, 1985)
Cosmos, MUSOU TOSHI (Canyon Records, 1984)
Cosmos, < MUSITOPIA>(Canyon Records, 1983)
Cosmos, Bourbonsuite (Canyon Records, 1982)
Cosmos, HYORYU (Toshiba-EMI, 1980-1981)
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