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The Kazu Matsui Project: Pioneer

Contemporary jazz/new-age pianist Keiko Matsui is better known, but it’s her ex-husband Kazu Matsui who in the 1980s was one of the architects of the quiet storm format named after a Smokey Robinson song and album from 1975. Kazu Matsui, a master of the shakuhachi, or Japanese flute, debuted in 1981 on a solo CD with friends Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Jeff Porcaro and Steve Lukather.

Pioneer was actually recorded over a five-year span in the 1980s but, for reasons unknown, only just released. Many of the musical guests were fringe players then, but now read like a who’s who in contemporary jazz: bassist Nathan East, guitarists Paul Jackson Jr. and Robben Ford and saxophonists Eric Marienthal and Brandon Fields. Vocalists include Phillip Ingram, Carl Anderson, Marva King and Jennifer Warnes.

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