Contemporary Jazz Pianist Keiko Matsui appearing at Bankhead Theater in August
LIVERMORE — This August, contemporary jazz pianist Keiko Matsui makes her fifth return to Livermore, where the intimate acoustics of the Bankhead Theater are ideal for what Jazz Review called her “wonderful amalgam of exotic melodies, luscious harmonies and global rhythms.”
An icon in smooth jazz, she is known for original compositions that seamlessly blend musical influences from around the world and speak a universal language. Tickets for Keiko Matsui’s single performance on Friday evening, Aug. 18, start at just $30 with $16 tickets for students and active military personnel.
Matsui’s music has always defied categorization. Built on a classical music core, her jazz and blues notes are gracefully woven through with a new age sensibility. She has described her compositions as an expression of the connections between the cultures, religions, and languages of the many places she has experienced on tour around the world.
Over the years Matsui has released 27 albums, including her most recent, “Journey to the Heart.” A more acoustic project than her earlier works with a fresh and appealing style, the album reached number one on the iTunes Jazz Chart the day of its release and had topped Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart less than two weeks later. Matsui has been twice named Best Female Artist at the National Smooth Jazz Awards.
A native of Japan, Matsui began piano lessons at the age of five. Initially she studied classical music, but by her early teens she had developed a strong interest in jazz and began to compose her own music. Although her family was not particularly musical, they supported her emerging talents and, at the young age of 17, she was selected as a recording artist for Yamaha. Matsui made her US recording debut with “Drop of Water” in 1987. Her music displays a fluid and improvisational quality, appealing to audiences across genres by incorporating diverse stylistic elements from jazz, classical, rock, blues, and world music. Her creativity and flexibility has made Matsui a welcome collaborator with such musical luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Bob James and more.
An activist by nature, Matsui makes it a priority to use her music to give back. She has actively championed a number of charitable causes, including the United Nations World Food Programme in Africa, bone marrow donation, and breast cancer awareness programs.
The Bankhead Theater offers a range of entertainment across musical genres, as well as dance, comedy and other performing arts throughout the year. The evening with Keiko Matsui on August 18th marks the final event in this year’s Summer Season at the Bankhead. The 2017-2018 Season opens on Saturday evening, September 9th with the Brilliance at the Bankhead Gala featuring Grammy Awardwinning folk-pop duo Indigo Girls, accompanied by the Livermore-Amador Symphony. Nearly three dozen events run through June 2018, including the music of Los Lonely Boys, OK GO, and Manhattan Transfer, the comic talents of Rita Rudner, Dave Coulier, and Vicki Lawrence, and many more.