Ever since pianist Keiko Matsui appeared in the first Berks Arts Council Bandshell Concert in City Park in June 1991, she has been a favorite with Berks County audiences who have attended her frequent performances as part of Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest.
Matsui is a transcendent pianist/composer whose music with the luscious melodies is adored around the world. Matsui is acclaimed for her signature lyricism and warm harmonies. The familiar elements of her music are new age, world beat, light classical and contemporary jazz all presented in an East-meets-West fashion.
Matsui brings a positive and energetic spirit to her concerts, nearly coming off the bench at times as she launches into her most up-tempo material. And in her slower, more intimate pieces, she inserts a beautiful spirituality into the performance.
In her 2019 album Echo – her 28th recording as a leader and that doesn’t count the several albums she did before moving from Japan to the United States in 1987 — she creates an enchanting global sonic tapestry.
Soulful, passionate and stirring are the words most often used to describe Kirk Whalum’s music. Forged from his Memphis gospel roots, his big, rich tenor sax sound is unmistakably his.
Whalum was a top-flight session player with a plethora of marque artists like Barbra Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Quincy Jones and Whitney Houston.
As a solo artist he has had over 25 solo recordings to date, including his much-lauded The Gospel According to Jazz series (Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4).