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Soul Quest

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Album Review

Soul Quest marks pianist Keiko Matsui's 25th recording anniversary. Since the very beginning, her crystalline piano and accessible yet harmonically rich compositions have been mainstays, not only on the smooth and contemporary jazz scenes, but also on the charts. She enlisted an all-star studio group to assist her on these ten tunes, nine of which she wrote or co-wrote. Most tracks were produced either by Fourplay guitarist Chuck Loeb (who contributes one tune, co-wrote several others, and plays on the set) or Narada Michael Walden (who also plays drums selectively and co-wrote the album's closer). Other contributors include Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Fernando Saunders, Kirk Whalum, David Mann, Andy Snitzer, and Brian Dunne, to name a few. The charting single "Black Lion," with its breezy acoustic guitar line from from Grecco Buratto and some tasty loops and percussion programming from Derek Nakamoto, is a clear standout, as is "A Night with Cha Cha," with Loeb, Lee, and Dunne. Matsui's piano uses the familiar Latin form as a jumping-off point for improvisation. Her composition weaves an intricate melody line for her piano and Whalum's tenor saxophone with a couple of dramatic changes in the bridge. "Antarctica: A Call to Action" walks a hazy line between contemporary jazz, classical crossover, and even rock, with stellar solos from Whalum on both tenor and soprano, a punchy gatekeeper bassline by Miller, elegant and sometimes thunderous drumming by Walden, and atmospheric guitar from Matthew Charles Heulitt. Matsui uses her piano and other keyboards to direct its many parts like a mini-suite The title track is a tango-inspired jazz ballad with Matsui interacting dreamily with Cameron Stone's cello over the first half, but Eric Baines' bassline and Nakamoto's funky synth and programming offer a tempo and color shift that Matsui builds upon, exchanging fours with all her players. Set-closer "Stingo," written by the pianist and Walden, is her tribute to Sting. Matsui's precise ostinati and arpeggios are pushed by Walden's aggressive kit work and programming, with colorful textures added by Jimi Reitzel's keyboards. There is a cinematic quality to the breezy and labyrinthine elegance of her improvising against a pronounced rhythmic attack. Soul Quest's greatest achievement lies in its diversity, and in the way Matsui applies her imagination as a composer, improviser, and arranger. It ranks with her finest work.

Customer Reviews

Another Keiko Matsui Masterpiece

I have all of Keiko's released albums and have never been disappointed. This for me is one more masterpiece of her Keiko Matsui brand sound. I enjoy her songs without vocals more than the songs with, but all her music is heart warming. Keiko's music reminds me of my Mother whom was a gifted woman on the piano and it reminded of my Mom's playing the first time I heard it and have been a fan ever since. Thank you for so many years of wonderful music!

Smooth yet powerful

Just saw Keiko’s performance at the KL Jazz Fest in Malaysia. Her live renditions of her recorded material made me yearn for more of her music. This album really sets her apart from other jazz musicians (not just artistes) because it is original, reflects her personality and spiritual.

Keiko Matsui Soul Quest

It has been 2 years from perivious release The Road was out I have been listen to Keiko Matsui from the start Soul Quest rocks baby it brings life and her journey and freedom this Cd is must for serious Keiko Matsui fans and new fans also welcome back Keiko thank you for many years of wonderful Music


Born: Tokyo, Japan

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Fusion/new age keyboard player Keiko Matsui grew up in Tokyo and took her first piano lesson at the age of five. Influenced by Stevie Wonder and Rachmaninov as well as early fusion masters Maurice Jarre and Chick Corea, Matsui began composing while in junior high but studied children's culture at the Japan Women's University (Nihon Joshidaigaku). She moved to the Yamaha Music Foundation in Tokyo after graduation and formed Cosmos, recording four albums with the new age group. Her first album as a...
Full Bio
Soul Quest, Keiko Matsui
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Customer Ratings