"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview"
Keiko Matsui clearly defines the description of an international artist. Her music is definitely on another level in terms of inspiration, intensity, and overwhelming appeal. Case in point her magnificent new record that is appropriately called Moyo (Heart & Soul). Please give a very warm welcome to the lovely and so amazing Ms. Keiko Matsui. Keiko, how are you? Welcome to Jazz Monthly.
KM: Thank you very much. I’m so glad to be here.
JM: I could tell in listening to this record….a lotta times people will ask you “Well, what were you feeling when you made this record or when you did this song?” But whatever those feelings are when you did this new record, I could tell that there was just a great deal of excitement.
KM: Yes, there was. Yes, I’m feeling lots of passion and lots of emotions and lots of great moments. And I felt like with making this album.…the progress of this album, I had a great time, it’s a really special time.
JM: You went to South Africa to record a lot of this record, right?
KM: Yes. Before that I went to South Africa to start composing. I went there for two weeks. Some tunes came to me in South Africa and I went back last September to start recording and we had a great rhythm section in South Africa.
JM: Yes, and I love all the great players that you had from the U.S.: Gerald Albright, and you got to hang out with your long time friend again, Paul Taylor.
KM: Yeah, we had like a kind of reunion type of feeling and because of each tune, I searched for a special person and that was them, and it’s so nice to work together again and, yeah, everybody has such very special talent, so I was very fortunate.
JM: You’re going back to the Ukraine like you mentioned and they have a special love for you over there, don’t they?
KM: Yes, somehow, the temperature was almost 0 there and this time it’s warmer, but like last February we went to Eastern Europe to tour and I couldn’t imagine that almost two thousand people are waiting for me at each theater. They remember the tunes a lot. Especially in Russia because the figure skater Irina Slutskaya is skating to my song, so people remember from that too.
JM: Lets talk a little bit about the title Moyo.
KM: “Moyo” means in Swahili language “heart and soul,” and also there are so many meanings, like courage or passion and spirit, that kind of thing. And the tune came to me, but I really felt these words matched to the tune and it became the album title.
JM: I could tell that you were really having a great time with this record and you must tell me, because you were using some different pianos, right?
KM: Actually, mostly on the acoustic piano. Actually, Yamaha brought great pianos, but I recorded in South Africa….some tunes I recorded in South Africa and some tunes I did in Japan, and also in Los Angeles too.
I felt like, this is so special and while writing down the credits, I mean, all the people who supported this album….it was like movie credits. (Both laugh.) Yeah, I was joking to my manager, it’s like South African unit and American unit and Japanese unit, and it became a big project and it’s so special to me.