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New Age and Smooth Jazz artist Kazu Matsui was born in Tokyo on June 5, 1954. He studied ethnic arts at UCLA after traveling through Europe and India in the mid 1970’s. He went back to Tokyo to teach Educational Theories at Toyoeiwa Woman's University. At the same time, Matsui began his music career with studio sessions that included major players of the day, Danny O'Keefe (1979’s The Global Blues), Ry Cooder (1982's Slide Area) and Joni Mitchell (1985's Dog Eat Dog). He was a musical contributor to major Hollywood features including Willow, Legends of the Fall and Jumanji. Kazu also produced recordings for his wife, keyboardist Keiko Matsui. His debut solo album, Sign of the Snow Crane, was released in 1989, and then, after a too-long-of-a wait period, he released 1995's Wind, 1997's Tribal Mozart, and its 1999 sequel, Tribal Schubert. In 2002, Bamboo was released to great critical acclaim, and three years later came Stone Monkey, a wild mix of his masterful shakuhachi playing mixed with break beats. This year we are fortunate to see the release of Pioneer, another CD for his side group, the Kazu Matsui Project. He is also now involved in the educational process in his home country as a member of the State Board of Education in Saitama. I was recently able to speak with Kazu and asked him why he wraps himself around certain projects in his life.

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