Japanese keyboardist and composer Keiko Matsui is an icon of contemporary jazz, with more than 1.2 million albums sold in the U.S. alone and sold-out appearances at concert halls across the world. Her elegant melodies and gentle grooves have also won her a diverse and adoring fan base of New Age and jazz fusion enthusiasts.
“A master on the piano... boasting accessible jazz overtones and an acoustic sensibility” — JazzTimes
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. A contract with MCA in 1989 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.
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1 hour, 30 minutes; no intermission