Kazu Matsui


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Kazu Matsui seems such an equal sonic partner as producer of his wife Keiko's ethereal jazz sessions that in many ways, his own solo projects seem more or less an extension. This is especially true on The Wind, which differs from a Keiko collection mainly in the instrumental focus department. Kazu's axe is his very Eastern, new agey, spiritual shakuhachi flute, and most of the landscapes he provides (along with keyboardist Derek Nakamoto) are in the service of letting the breeze float from a lilting summer caress to a Pacific storm with a crash landing on the shores of his native Japan. Except for the catchy cover of "El Condor Pasa" and the plaintive "Pine Tree," however, the tender vibes and inventive improvisations (many by Keiko), not to mention the groove and spacy atmospheres, stand out over any real throbbing melody. Credit is given to both Ks as composers, but Keiko alone is slightly more radio friendly. Keiko's contributions take on a classical bravura, enhancing some of the jazzier breaks with the same enthusiasm she and Kazu find on her own albums. Paul Taylor's soprano sweetening is on hand for texturing purposes. To fall in love with these gusts, you don't need to be a Keiko fan; appreciating the outstretched mythology of Kitaro works just as well. And that's saying a galeful.

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