Soul Quest

Soul Quest

by Keiko MatsuiKeiko Matsui


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Soul Quest marks pianist Keiko Matsui's 25th recording anniversary. Since the very beginning, her crystalline piano and accessible yet harmonically rich compositions have been mainstays, not only on the smooth and contemporary jazz scenes, but also on the charts. She enlisted an all-star studio group to assist her on these ten tunes, nine of which she wrote or co-wrote. Most tracks were produced either by Fourplay guitarist Chuck Loeb (who contributes one tune, co-wrote several others, and plays on the set) or Narada Michael Walden (who also plays drums selectively and co-wrote the album's closer). Other contributors include Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Fernando Saunders, Kirk Whalum, David Mann, Andy Snitzer, and Brian Dunne, to name a few. The charting single "Black Lion," with its breezy acoustic guitar line from from Grecco Buratto and some tasty loops and percussion programming from Derek Nakamoto, is a clear standout, as is "A Night with Cha Cha," with Loeb, Lee, and Dunne. Matsui's piano uses the familiar Latin form as a jumping-off point for improvisation. Her composition weaves an intricate melody line for her piano and Whalum's tenor saxophone with a couple of dramatic changes in the bridge. "Antarctica: A Call to Action" walks a hazy line between contemporary jazz, classical crossover, and even rock, with stellar solos from Whalum on both tenor and soprano, a punchy gatekeeper bassline by Miller, elegant and sometimes thunderous drumming by Walden, and atmospheric guitar from Matthew Charles Heulitt. Matsui uses her piano and other keyboards to direct its many parts like a mini-suite The title track is a tango-inspired jazz ballad with Matsui interacting dreamily with Cameron Stone's cello over the first half, but Eric Baines' bassline and Nakamoto's funky synth and programming offer a tempo and color shift that Matsui builds upon, exchanging fours with all her players. Set-closer "Stingo," written by the pianist and Walden, is her tribute to Sting. Matsui's precise ostinati and arpeggios are pushed by Walden's aggressive kit work and programming, with colorful textures added by Jimi Reitzel's keyboards. There is a cinematic quality to the breezy and labyrinthine elegance of her improvising against a pronounced rhythmic attack. Soul Quest's greatest achievement lies in its diversity, and in the way Matsui applies her imagination as a composer, improviser, and arranger. It ranks with her finest work.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/30/2013
Label: Shanachie
UPC: 0016351540829
catalogNumber: 5408
Rank: 6772


  1. Dream Seeker
  2. Black Lion
  3. Top Secret
  4. A Night With Cha Cha
  5. Moving Mountain
  6. Antarctica: A Call to Action
  7. Soul Quest
  8. Proof
  9. Two Hearts
  10. Stingo

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Keiko Matsui   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Will Lee   Bass
Chuck Loeb   Keyboards
Narada Michael Walden   Drums,Vocals
Derek Nakamoto   Drums,Keyboards
Jim Reitzel   Keyboards
Fernando Saunders   Bass
Andy Snitzer   Soprano Saxophone
Kirk Whalum   Tenor Saxophone
Cameron Stone   Cello
Eric Baines   Bass
Brian Dunne   Drums
Grecco Buratto   Acoustic Guitar
Giulio Carmassi   Trumpet
David Mann   Flute,Saxophone

Technical Credits

Keiko Matsui   Composer
Craig Burbidge   Engineer
Ken Freeman   Engineer
Chuck Loeb   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Narada Michael Walden   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer
Derek Nakamoto   Arranger,Producer,Loop Programming
Jim Reitzel   Engineer
Kirk Whalum   Engineer
Brian Dunne   Engineer
Danny Weiss   Executive Producer
Kim Rea   Studio Manager
David Mann   Engineer,Horn Arrangements
Junko Kawai   Studio Manager

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