From her debut album in 1987 A Drop Of Water and then subsequent recordings such as Under Northern Lights (1990), Cherry Blossom (1992), Sapphire (1995), Dream Walk (1996), Full Moon (1998) and The Ring (2002), Keiko Matsui has cemented her reputation and increased her popularity throughout the world.
A smooth jazz superstar today, her growth as a musician has been astounding, not to mention a timely reminder of how this little lady from Japan came to us fully realized and helped to define an American music genre. This is the second in a series of catalog releases in Shout! Factory's partnership with Keiko. Throughout the year Keiko's body of work will be represented with reissues of several of her most popular albums updated with unreleased tracks as well as other new collections of classic and solo material.
Keiko's seventh album Sapphire, named after Keiko's second baby's birthstone, was one of Keiko's most important releases. Sapphire reflects the natural spiritual transitions that touched the Matsui's between the death of Keiko's beloved father and the birth of their daughter. The idea of hope following loss translates to the generally buoyant nature of such songs as the opening track, "Safari," and "Sonora" The beautiful Karla Bonoff vocal on "Tears From The Sun" are also in line with the spiritual tone of the album, which stayed in the Top 20 of Billboard's Contemporary Jazz chart for over seven months. Sapphire is also the first Keiko disc to feature the sax artistry of the charismatic Paul Taylor, who joined the Matsui touring fold in 1994 and became a fan favorite.
These Shout! Factory's Keiko Matsui reissues each feature three solo piano tracks from the original Japanese collections. Sapphire includes a reprise of the title track "Sapphire" as well as the classically flavored "The River" and "Longing."