"Fusion/new age keyboard player Keiko Matsui grew up in Tokyo, and took her first piano lesson at the age of five. Influenced by Stevie Wonder and Rachmaninov as well as early fusion masters Maurice Jarre and Chick Corea, Matsui began composing while in junior high, but studied children's culture at the Japan Women's University (Nihon Joshidaigaku)."
"All the familiar elements of Matsui's music are here. There's new age, world beat, light classical and contemporary jazz all presented in the East-meets-West fashion that has been a constant since she entered the scene with A Drop of Water. (Shout! Factory, 1987) “After the Rain” is a funky fusion of American smooth jazz as Taylor's soprano saxophone dukes it out with South African soul and Lucas Senyatso's looping bass lines. Taylor, who played with Matsui in the 1990s, and went on to a successful solo career, sounds strong, as if reuniting with his old band mate reinvigorated him as he takes the lead on the radio-friendly “Black River.”
“Caricas” is a showpiece for Matsui's playful piano, but gives drummer Rob Watson, rock-solid bass and percussionist Tiale Makhene plenty of space. But it's only an appetizer, with the following “An Evening in Gibraltar” a blue plate special with Masakela's sizzling trumpet trading lines with Matsui's piano during the bridge.
“Um Novo Dia” (A New Day) deserves points for possibly being the most bizarre song on a Matsui album, but features an overly melodramatic vocal by Waldemar Bastos. It's an interesting attempt at Latin music, but comes up short.
"Matsui has enjoyed much commercial success and is a staple of smooth jazz programming though she's always followed her own direction rather than comforming to the rules of the genre. Moyo is a fascinating next step in Matsui's growth and advancement as a musician of depth, range, grace and talent."
01 Moyo (Heart And Soul)
02 A Great Romance
03 Into The Night
05 An Evening In Gibraltar
06 When I Close My Eyes
07 After The Rain
09 Black River
10 Old Potch Road
11 Um Novo Dia