Keiko Matsui is a Japanese keyboardist and composer, specializing in smooth jazz, jazz fusion and new-age music. Her career spans four decades, during which time she has released twenty CDs. Matsui's music is powerful and introspective, blending both Western and Eastern musical influences. Matsui sees music as "the great gifts from the human souls from the past, for the children of the future". She believes that music has a power to bring people together and change their lives.
Keiko was born in Tokyo, Japan. Her mother, Emiko, took her to her first piano lesson in the June following her fifth birthday. Japanese tradition holds that a child who is introduced to lessons at this time will continue in those studies for a long time. The tradition held true for Keiko, who studied piano throughout her school years.
At age 19 Keiko was sent to America to record an album and she made her US recording debut in 1987 with the recording A Drop of Water. Under Northern Lights followed in 1989 and her subsequent albums of note include No Borders (1990), Night Waltz (1991), Cherry Blossom (1992), Doll (1994), Sapphire (1995) and Dream Walk (1996), which remained on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart for over 15 months and further cemented her reputation as a force to be reckoned with.
1998 saw the release of her album Full Moon And The Shrine, which was accompanied by the acclaimed PBS-TV special Keiko Matsui: Light Above The Trees. In 2000, the special earned Keiko a National Smooth Jazz Award for “Best Long-Form Video Achievement” and she was honored with an award for “Best Female Artist.” She claimed the award again in 2001.
Keiko Matsui’s CD Deep Blue (2001) topped Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz charts for three consecutive weeks. She is the first Japanese artist to achieve this honor.
In December 2009, the highly sought-after pianist was asked to put together a Christmas show at the Blue Note club in Tokyo, which was a major success and in November 2010 she made her highly anticipated debut at the Blue Note in NY, which was sold out.
In 2011 Keiko recorded with fellow pianist Bob James on a four-hand piano project called Altair & Vega. She also released her critically heralded Billboard Top 5 recording The Road… which featured Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona and saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Jackiem Joyner among others.
In 2013, Keiko Matsui celebrated the release of her critically lauded album Soul Quest. The same year she was also an invited guest in Istanbul for International Jazz Day alongside such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. With the release of Journey To The Heart (2016), Keiko confirms her place as one of the most dynamic and important voices in instrumental music and assures us that her journey continues.