Friday, November 2, 2007

Musical Terroir

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the Keiko Matsui concert at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center. I’m not real familiar with her music; the concert was better than I thought it would be – I was expecting more “smooth jazz” with smooth equating to “tepid,” but it was an upbeat performance with superb musicianship that I enjoyed very much.

The theater itself is gorgeous with excellent acoustics and is not that large. Even with the relatively small size, the concert was not sold out. Ms. Matsui is not one of those hugely popular acts that fills us concert halls all along the tour route, but given her style of music I wouldn’t expect her to be.

What she does, she does very well. It got me to thinking, there’s a “terroir” to music, as well. Some are more identifiable than others. I am not a big enough fan of Ms. Matsui to be able to pick out her compositions/style that easily, but she does have a certain style that would enable me to make an educated guess if I were to hear her blindfolded. It’s harder with purely instrumental acts – there’s no vocalist to give it away!

I appreciate how much she loves what she does, the passion of her composing and performing, and also how all the components of the band came together to make it such an enjoyable evening. It took a lot of hard work. Sort of like appreciating a winemaker’s efforts brought forth when savoring the results from a good bottle of wine.

Her type of music is part of a genre (I suppose most aptly categorized as smooth jazz) but also has a certain style within that genre. It seems generated from a passion she has to create as an artist, rather than to sell to the masses or get good press reviews. She lets the “terroir” shine through.

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