Jazz Singer Erika Matsuo to Have Album Release Celebration at Blue Note

Erika Matsuo: Here and Now Album Release Celebration

Sunday, July 24 at 12:30 p.m. (doors open at 11:30 a.m.) and 2:30 p.m. (doors open at 1:30 p.m.)

Blue Note New York – 131 W. 3rd Street (between 6th Avenue and Macdougal Street)

Admission: $20

New York-based Japanese jazz singer Erika Matsuo celebrates the release of her latest album, Here and Now, during Sunday brunch sessions at Blue Note. Tickets are $20 per person with a $5 minimum food/drink order. This is an all-ages show, but only 21+ will be seated at the bar. To purchase tickets, please visit ticketweb.

Erika Matsuo. Photo by Andrew Levine.

About Erika Matsuo

Fukuoka native Erika Matsuo was a protégé of the great Sheila Jordan and studied classical piano as a child. While in her late teens, Matsuo joined an all-girl rock group, the Tear Drops, which won first prize in the Yamaha Teen Music Festival in May 1994.

Coming to New York

A chance meeting with jazz pianist Yusuke Hirado led to her an invitation to record and perform in New York as lead singer of his band. It was the beginning of her love affair with New York. Matsuo soon relocated, studying for a BFA in jazz voice at City College of New York and immersing herself in the city’s jazz scene, exploring everything from straight-ahead to Brazilian jazz.

After graduating from City College, where she also earned the prestigious Pro Musica award, which is given to graduating music majors for distinguished service to the cause of music at the college, Matsuo went on to win first prize in the highly prestigious Asakusa Jazz Contest in Japan and, in 2007, was featured in Coca Cola’s So-Ken-Bi Cha TV commercial, becoming one of the most recognized voices in Japan.

Based in New York, she has performed at many of the city’s top venues, including BB King, Sweet Rhythm, Jazz at Kitano, S.O.B.’s and the Blue Note, and she regularly tours Japan.

Albums

Matsuo burst onto the international jazz scene in 2010 with her self-produced album Obsession, a sensual sojourn through American, Brazilian, and original songs, which was hailed by All About Jazz as “a promising debut, beautifully produced and finely performed.” She had previously self-produced a single, “Close My Eyes,” in 2007.

She released True Colors in 2013 and Nostalgia two years later. Yusuke Hirado, the jazz pianist who set her New York career in motion, appears on Nostalgia as a special guest.

In 2017, Matsuo released Reflections, on which she performs songs written for her by Monday Michiru and Yusuke Hirado. More than 14 different musicians record with her on this album including Steve Wilson, David Gilmore, and Johnathan Blake.

About Here and Now

The pandemic allowed Matsuo to spend more time than usual on her latest album, and the extra care she put into recording is reflected in her songs. She wrote “By My Side” for her best friend, Rui, who died in a tragic car accident. Matsuo also wrote the music and lyrics for “Home,” which she dedicated to her parents, and co-wrote the lyrics to “Piece of a Dream” and “Beyond the Breeze.”

Here And Now is about living my life now because we never know about the future,” says Matsuo. “I’ve been in New York for twenty years and touring for fifteen, so this is a celebration of that period while also looking towards what is to come.”

Performers:

Erika Matsuo – Vocals
Art Hirahara – Piano
Juancho Herrera – Guitar
Boris Kozlov – Bass
Ronen Itzik – Drums

All Things Japanese in New York City