Essentials: Wildflower, by Keiko Matsui

Photo by Nguyen Trung Hieu on

Keiko Matsui was born in 1961 in Tokyo, Japan. Her mother took Keiko to her first music lesson after her fifth birthday. In her early years, she studied piano and focused on classical music. In junior high school, she found herself interested in jazz. When I think of a grand piano, I sometimes think of Keiko Matsui as, to me, her sound IS grand! Even in quieter pieces that grandiosity finds its way to the surface. I’d venture to say that pomp & circumstance is at her very core – in a good way, of course, as it seems that she puts forth her all in every piece that she writes and performs. I find much of her work stretches beyond mere music and soars far beyond uplifting. Her debut solo album, A Drop Of Water (1987) was recorded with her husband, Kazu Matsui. True to her calling, Sapphire (1995) reached number one on Billboard – on the Contemporary Jazz Chart. In 2011, she did a duet album, Altair And Vega, with another of my favorite pianists, Bob James.

She has done various projects for charity. The royalties from my absolute favorite album from her repertoire, Wildflower (2003?), supported The United Nations World Food Programme and, on December 17, 2003, she performed at The United Nations for the benefit of that very same program. Wildflower is but one of her recordings that should, by all means, be considered essential.

Jazz, jazz, and nothing but jazz. Sometimes.

copyright 2023 jblackstarr for SMOOTHE.

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