The Pulse of Entertainment - May 12, 2023

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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.

SYNDICATED 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 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, a 501 c3, for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email

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