- Audio CD (Jun 1 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Narada
- ASIN: B0001BKAEO
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
|2. Facing Up|
|3. Sense Of A Journey|
|4. Brand New Wind|
|5. Eldest Of All|
|7. White Castle|
|8. Temple Of Life|
|10. Stone Circle|
What makes Matsui different that the typical Smooth Jazz artist? While mostly jazz, she expands her compositions by fusing them with aspects of rock, pop, classical, and electronica. There also seems to be a style in her compositions that is not typically found in other Smooth Jazz artists. From virtually all the other Smooth Jazz I've heard, a song will have the same flow from start to finish. If you're lucky, you may hear a solo or some lifeless transition in between. Not so with Matsui. You can most likely EXPECT dramatic changes throughout a composition. The song may start slow, but always builds to a dramatic climax and finish...kind of like having sex! ;) Even her ballads have more life and are more moving than most other Smooth Jazz compositions. It is not wise to skip over a Keiko Matsui song that you may find boring at the start because you may miss out on something good in the middle. With most Smooth Jazz, I've found if you don't like it at the beginning, it isn't going to get better.
Finally, on to "Wildflower"! First, I would recommend that you listen to it on a good stereo system. The first few times I listened to it, I was in my car. Granted, I loved it, but I was in awe when I finally got to hear it on the home system. Wow! There is a lot of depth in the soundstage that is hard to recognize when listening to it with inadequate speakers.
I may be a bit biased about this album because I'm a big fan of electronica and this album is a nice mix of electronica and Keiko's typical melody-driven jazz style of piano. Although she is known to use electronics in her music, this definitlely incorporates more of the electronica sound. I was amazed at how well the sounds blended so seamlessly with a real piano although I suspect some parts of Keiko's piano was sampled and looped. I should also mention that not all the drumming is programmed. There is a lot of real drumming which breaks up the monotony that can sometimes plague programmed music.
The production (produced by her husband, Kazu) is amazing. Although heavy in electronics, it is not at all overbearing and does not drown out Keiko's piano playing. Unlike some of Keiko's horn driven compositions, which I think can sometimes be overbearing, the electronics complement her piano beautifully.
Also, as I had already mentioned, the depth of the soundstage is incredible at times. Some ambient electronic sounds surround you with more prevalent sounds up front and center with a few blips and bleeps at your sides all the while Keiko plays for you in the background. Does this sound messy? Not at all! It's incredible.
I highly recommend this cd to anyone who is tired of hearing the same dull stuff on the radio day in and day out. Better yet, see Keiko in concert. She tours almost every year. You will be amazed at the energy this little Japanese woman can put forth. Anyone who's heard the "Blue's Jam" (which she composed, by the way!) at the end will know what I'm talking about! Keiko Matsui's music is no "department store jazz"...commonly known as "Smooth Jazz".
I had the misfortune of paying a fair amount of money to see her in concert a few month's ago. I now assume the concert was to promote this new album. Read more