Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

181

Keiko Matsui: Collection

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Keiko Matsui's Collection consists of twelve cuts culled from the albums Under the Northern Lights and No Borders. Fans of Keiko's jazz / funk piano and keyboard will want to pick this up if they can't get the earlier discs, but it features no "bonus" or "previously unreleased" cuts to drag in diehard fans.

As for the music, well, my wife walked by while I was playing this CD and remarked, "Sounds like the theme of a Japanese TV show." She lived in Japan for a few years, and for all I know, the theme songs she heard there were all written and performed by none other than the illustrious Keiko Matsui. In any case, it's glossy, danceable, and profound as late-night electronic dance music sometimes aspires to be. And not all the textures are machine-made: Eric Marienthal and Brandon Fields play some burning sax on "Mountain Shakedown," and Kazu Matsui's Shakuhachi adds a haunting feel to "The Wind and the Wolf." Fields adds some searching mountain-top riffs to "Under Northern Lights," where Robben Ford chimes in with a few of his own, the kind made those Miles Davis (and George Harrison) shows such a gas.

Marienthal is back on "Light in the Rain" with some excellent high-flying tenor. What might he sound like with an acoustic background with which he could more fully express his individuality, it made me wonder. On this track, Clay Jenkins and Bill Armstrong are listed on trumpets and Steve Holtman on 'bone, but they didn't stand out much from the mix.

On the other hand, maybe I was too busy shakin' that booty. Ain't nothin' here that won't make you want to get up out of that chair and find that old leisure suit. Nothing raw, not a hair out of place. Trends in "jazz," whatever that is, tend to ape those in the rest of the world. There is a tradition of jazz playing that parallels the Sixties' rebelliousness and spirit of adventure. Then there is a tradition of jazz that counts Saturday Night Fever and high-gloss disco funk among its forefathers-and here we are.

So if that sort of thing is your cup of tea, you'll love the gauzy longing tones of the likes of "Believer," wherein John Crosse's really fine (soprano) saxophone work is laid down to sleep on a beautiful cottony bed of synthesized strings, and all's well that ends well. The level of musicianship in general is very high, with standouts being Marienthal and the other reedmen, plus the impeccable Keiko. There is nothing to criticize about this music: it does what it sets out to do with utter efficiency. So get up and dance.

Personnel is merely a cast of thousands. Besides those already mentioned, I should single out Carlos Vega's drumming for special mention. Mr. Vega is strong and as steady as a metronome. This kind of music doesn't give him a great deal to do besides keep time, but he holds up his end. It may seem strange to single out a man for doing well in not standing out, but this music is not about standing out. And certainly for dance and background music it shows evidence of being assembled with considerable care and attention to detail.


Title: Collection | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: GRP Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Stingo (Live in Tokyo)

Stingo (Live in Tokyo)

Keiko Matsui
Live In Tokyo

Black Lion

Black Lion

Keiko Matsui
Black Lion

Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Journey To The Heart

Journey To The Heart

Shanachie Records
2016

buy
Live In Tokyo

Live In Tokyo

Shanachie Records
2015

buy
 

Soul Quest

Narada Jazz
2013

buy
 

Greatest Hits

Narada Jazz
2011

buy
The Road...

The Road...

Shanachie Records
2011

buy
Moyo (Heart and Soul)

Moyo (Heart and Soul)

Unknown label
2007

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb23Sat
Keiko Matsui
McCallum Theatre
Palm Desert, CA
Apr24Wed
Keiko Matsui
Yoshi's Oakland
Oakland, CA
$29
Apr25Thu
Keiko Matsui
Yoshi's Oakland
Oakland, CA
$32
Apr28Sun
Keiko Matsui
The Coach House
San Juan Capistrano, CA

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Karl Ackermann
February 20, 2019
Read Gary Album Reviews
Gary
By Dan McClenaghan
February 20, 2019
Read Perception Album Reviews
Perception
By Paul Rauch
February 20, 2019
Read I Love the Rhythm in a Riff Album Reviews
I Love the Rhythm in a Riff
By Mackenzie Horne
February 20, 2019
Read Head First Album Reviews
Head First
By Roger Farbey
February 20, 2019
Read New American Songbooks, Volume 2 Album Reviews
New American Songbooks, Volume 2
By Karl Ackermann
February 19, 2019
Read Live At JazzCase Album Reviews
Live At JazzCase
By Troy Dostert
February 19, 2019