According to Mark Ruffin of Chicago Magazine/Amazon.com: "Performing solo piano has been compared to tightrope walking without a net and swimming in an ocean without a flotation device." For those of us who have followed the career Keiko Matsui, we all knew her first solo effort entitled 'The Piano' would be a picturesque panoramic view of her remarkable journey into jazz in all its flavors. The recording continues a standard of excellence that has followed Keiko Matsui for over 12 years. In either sense, it is a known fact that she has not always followed the norm in her approach to "America's only original art form."
Under the stewardship of a brand new record label, Keiko Matsui continues to offer a rather unique approach to jazz. Classified as a smooth/new age jazz artist, Keiko's music has a daring yet laid back style. Produced by her husband Kazu Matsui who also has a history of excellence in the music industry, 'The Piano has proven to be a great collaboration between two collective minds. Kazu is highly regarded as one of the world's finest players of the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese bamboo flute. He has been seen and heard on numerous recordings, movie soundtracks and concert stages throughout the world. In addition, Kazu has been extremely instrumental in the development of Keiko's career.
'The Piano' is all about the magical mystical style Keiko Matsui has displayed over the years and has become known for. In making her debut for Shout! Factory as a solo recording artist, Keiko has cut the chords of studio support that usually accompanies a CD. There is no life line for her to rely upon, yet she moves and grooves effortlessly throughout this CD without hesitation. This is a remarkable accomplishment for this impeccable musician. She stands as an enigma to critics who believe her style of jazz is not relevant. As with all things associated with change, jazz is constantly evolving and will continue to do so for the next hundred years. The first century saw numerous innovations and has influenced the likes of Keiko Matsui to the level most of her fans have come to appreciate. Her particular style of music may well be one of the influences we identify as siginificant in the annals of jazz history. Either way, 'The Piano' stands as one of Keiko Matsui's finest recordings.