Forget James Brown. Keiko Matsui’s the hardest-working musician in show business. This woman has been on the road touring the globe for what seems like two years straight without any breaks. Tomorrow, she returns to Seattle’s Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley for four nights with her full band: saxophonist Jackiem Joyner (Evolve), guitarist Grecco Buratto (Essas Coisas Todas), bassist Rico Belled (XR7, Rippingtons), and drummer Dave Karasony (Rippingtons) These are the same guys she’s been touring with from last summer.
The Japanese pianist/composer does it, because she never tires of sharing her borderless music with the world, and the world can’t get enough. Wherever she shows up, whether it’s Sochi, Russia, Jakarta, Indonesia, or Yoshi’s in San Francisco, the people come exclusively to see her in action and feel her love through the impressions she makes on her keyboard.
Matsui knows how much music has helped her through. She pays it forward every time she sinks into the magnificent “Antarctica—A Call To Action,” “Dream Seeker,” and “Moving Mountain,” or plays it light and languid in “A Night With Cha Cha” (that’s a stiff drink for ya) — all from her latest album, Soul Quest, her 24th.
She marks the 26th anniversary of her U.S. recording career. With so many albums to her credit — and so many songs off that album reaching the top of the Billboard charts — the shows promise to deliver spine-tingling drama, swoon-worthy romance, and delicate poetry, as Matsui transcends the ordinary boundaries of smooth jazz fusion and classical music. She’s all that, but much more.
For one so delicate, Keiko Matsui wields tremendous power in her tiny hands as she attacks the keys as if possessed by an unquenchable fire, aching for release. You’re reminded of Beethoven in the throes of a passionate surrender.
Her interaction amongst the band and the audience is also legendary for its quaint charm and quiet humor. She will wrap you around her finger before the second song is done, and tears will flow by the end of the night. Guaranteed.