Archive for November 8, 2010

In Japan, it is said that if children begin music lessons on June 6 following their fifth birthday, they will keep studying for a long time. Pianist Keiko Matsui was taken to her first piano lesson on that very day when she was five and she hasn’t looked back since.

A true icon of contemporary jazz with over 20 albums to her credit since the release of A Drop of Water in 1986, the versatile performer has sold over 1.2 million units in the U.S. alone and packs concert halls around the world. Her subsequent albums, including Under Northern Lights, No Borders, Night Waltz, Cherry Blossom, Doll, Sapphire and Dream Walk further cemented her reputation as an innovator of a style fusing elements of classical, new age, jazz, R&B and ambient music.

A fixture in the upper reaches of the contemporary jazz album and airplay charts, Matsui — whose influences range from Chopin, Mozart and Rachmaninov to Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Stevie Wonder — was named Top Indie Contemporary Jazz Artist Of The Year by Billboard magazine in 1996.

In 1998, her release Full Moon and the Shrine was accompanied by an acclaimed PBS-TV special entitled Keiko Matsui: Light Above The Trees. The special reflected the multicultural nature of Matsui’s life and music and was filmed, in part, at Japan’s breathtakingly beautiful 1,300-year-old Itsukushima Shrine and during a high-energy concert in San Francisco. The special earned Matsui a National Smooth Jazz Award for Best Long-Form Video Achievement in 2000. She was also honored as the Best Female Artist that year and again in 2001.

Her releases in the 2000s have been driven by music designed to help heal a world in turmoil, including Deep Blue, The Ring, Wildflower (whose title track benefited the U.N. World Food Program’s efforts in Africa), Walls of Akendora and her most recent, Moyo (2007).

Matsui’s music is powerful and introspective, blending both Western and Eastern musical influences. She has a very spiritual view of composing music, feeling out each composition as though it were, in her words, “coming to me from another space, another dimension,” and “catching notes from the silence and then simply placing them together.”

Thursday, November 11 2010 • 8pm

Friday, November 12 2010 • 8pm

Saturday, November 13 2010 • 7pm and 9:30pm

Sunday, November 14 2010 • 7pm

The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St, San Francisco, California 94102

For more information visit this website.

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