The Pulse of Entertainment: A
Review - Brilliant Performer with Genius Compositions,
That's Japanese Pianist Keiko Matsui in Concert
(May 12, 2023) - The performance of Japanese Jazz pianist Keiko
Matsui recently at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California was brilliant, and her compositions
are genius. Matsui not only had a full orchestra (strings, horns, drums, and guitars), but she brought on special guest Grammy
winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum as the cherry on the cake.
Keiko, during an interview on the release of her new
album "Euphoria" (Shanachie Entertainment), invited me to her Cerritos concert after
learning I am now living in Long Beach. Kirk Whalum, along with Jazz vocalist Lalah Hathaway, trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist
Mike Stern, vibist Joel Ross, harmonica player Gregorie Mare, arranger John Beasley, and her touring band appears on her new
project. At the concert she performs a lot of the tracks on the project, and I must say the "Euphoria" album's selections
will give you ecstasy without a doubt.
Co-produced by Grammy nominated Bud Harner, who is also Keiko Matsui's manager,
the Shanachie Entertainment project is Matsui's 30th album. On all the songs performed, watching Keiko play was the main entertainment,
and she played so well it made my hands hurt. She is so masterful, and she surprised me by playing a melodica air piano! The
performance of the "Euphoria" song called "Rosso Cantabile" had a Latin feel to it then it rolls into
a Contemporary Jazz number and the strings on it were heavenly. The "Prairie Morning" song had eight strings (violins,
viola, and maybe a cello or standup bass) and sounded so beautiful I could hear vocals - though there were none - and I love
the guitar solo performance.
Playing before a full house Keiko's "Neo," also on the new album, was performed.
It was a sax driven song and her piano playing was like fluttering wings of butterflies or of a bird. The guitar solo was
so sweet. I also loved the way she directs her musicians with the wave of a hand that for some reason had lots of respect
in its swing. "The Choice" was performed, a clear and precise song that is straight up Contemporary Jazz, and it
too had a guitar solo that was outstanding.
In between songs Keiko talked to us about her musicians, her life,
her music, and her career journey, informing us that her "Euphoria" album debuted at #1. She performed the title
track where she made the keys pop full of joy, and with its Latin feel the drummer had a party on stage. Matsui performed
the first single from the project "Steps on the Globe" where she played the piano sweetly, almost R&Bish, then
surprising us with the blast of the horn. The performance of the "Mossy Mountains" song starts with the violin strings,
then Keiko's keys roll in, then the guitar rolls in, then it explodes and comes to a quite stop - genius. She performed other
songs on the album and songs from her previous projects. She then closes the Cerritos concert with a performance with Kirk
Whalum on the song "Luminescence." Kirk shows why he is a living legend with 11 Grammy nominations, the power he
puts behind his sax playing and his physical moves to get the power he needed, made it seems as though his sax was singing
- very entertaining.
Keiko Matsui is still on tour promoting the new Shanachie Entertainment project "Euphoria"
with performances coming to Jazz on the Vine at the Osthoff Resort May 13th in Elkhart Lake, WI, then at Dakota Jazz Club
May 14th in Minneapolis, MN, and at the Blue Note Napa on May 20th in Napa, California. www.Shanachie.com www.KeikoMatsui.com
COLUMN: Dr. Eunice Moseley has an estimated weekly readership of over one million with The
Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations and Business Management Strategist and Consultant at
Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com EVENTS: "Uplifting Minds II" Entertainment Conference (ULMII),
founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 24th year. Next events are coming to Baltimore via Zoom Saturday
April 15, 2023, presented by Security Square Mall and The Baltimore Times, and Los
Angeles via Zoom Saturday, November 11 2023. The ULMII event is a free entertainment conference
offering a Professional Industry Panel Q&A Session, a Professional Talent Showcase and National
Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $17,500
valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com, a 501 c3, for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email info@ThePulseofEntertainment.com.