Keiko Matsui

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About Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui blends the traditional sounds of Japan with jazz to create smooth songs with New Age flourishes. Born in Tokyo in 1961, Matsui studied classical piano early, but by high school, she had become fascinated with jazz. Her first major professional foray into music came as a member of the '80s synthesizer trio Cosmos, after which she embarked on a solo journey, merging Eastern and Western sounds together, starting with her 1987 debut album, A Drop of Water. That full-length established a sound she would continue exploring, mixing jazzy keyboards and horns with traditional Japanese instruments like the shakuhachi. She tapped into her personal spirituality—in addition to her synth-inflected past—to add a New Age layer to her ‘90s output on songs such as 1996’s soothing “Bridge Over the Stars.” Matsui stands as one of Japan’s most innovative contemporary jazz greats, always eager to blur the lines between sounds and time.

Tokyo, Japan
July 26, 1961
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