Keiko Matsui

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One of the spiritual minded, jazz meets mystical keyboardist's best early efforts, helping her bridge from pure Eastern tinged new age music into gently funky smooth jazz. With styles ranging from R&B (the Eric Marienthal punched "Light in the Rain") and fusion, to Medieval Folk music ("In the Mist," "Three Silhouettes"), and her trademark new age ("The Wind and the Wolf"), there are certainly no borders on this collection. Matsui's sense of melody keeps on growing, her improvisational soloing is spectacular (especially on "Kappa"), yet doesn't alienate her powerful core of backing musicians, including guitarist Robben Ford and violinist Subramanium. Husband Kazu Matsui's production is once again impeccable, as is his playful and wistful shakuhachi flute playing. Phil Ayling's recorder and oboe on the medieval tunes are also highlights. Keiko's beautiful writing however, is what holds the marvelous collection together.

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