'Walls Of Akendora’ is the brand new album from pianist Keiko Matsui. She has been taking piano lessons since the age of 5 and its shows. Having released 20 albums previously Keiko has aged and matured since starting out in 1987 with 'A Drop Of Water'.
Keiko starts us off with a song called ‘Overture For The City’ with trumpets blaring. Think of this as say a distant cousin of ‘Theme From Mr. Broadway’ by Brubeck. You can picture yourself hustling through the busy streets of Japan. Taking inspiration from classical composers like Rachmaninov and Mozart and combing them with jazz giants as Corea and Jarrett, Keiko has had many great people to feed of off and along with the inventive funkiness and rhythms of Stevie Wonder, Matsui has combined them on all of these tracks.
'Mountain Shakedown' keeps Matsui in the background and lets her band mates ( sadly no names could be found in the liner notes or through a search of the internet so no proper name credits can be given ) bring their skills to the forefront.
Listening to this album, I wanted to list all of the songs as stand out songs but I have narrowed it down to one: 'Gentle Sounds' it is mildly up-tempo but not too up-tempo but it does not slow you down, it relaxes. Matsui keeps herself in the background mostly throughout, not something you would expect say from a pianist just solely named, you would expect them to dominate the album, themselves first and the band second but everyone gets to shine on their own. Keiko Matsui has released an album with special edition DVD of performance material and ‘home movie’ that all should enjoy and to be honest when I first received it, I stereotyped it as ‘Oh Japanese jazz! this has to be fun!’ and to be honest I was wrong and well right, it is fun.... and constructed beautifully.