Erika Matsuo, vocal
Art Hirahara, key
Leo Traversa, bass
Keita Ogawa, drums & percussion
Dana Leong, cello
**Price includes brunch, music and a drink.**
New York-based, Japanese jazz vocalist, Erika Matsuo, burst on to the international jazz scene in 2010 with her self-produced debut, Obsession (ErikaJazz), which was hailed by AllAboutJazz as “a promising debut, beautifully produced and finely performed.”
A sensual sojourn through American, Brazilian and original songs, Obsession featured jazz stars Romero Lubambo, Carlton Holmes, Freddie Bryant, Paulo Levi, Yosvany Terry, Essiet Essiet, Willard Dyson and Nanny Assis, providing the perfect support for Erika’s beautiful voice, which the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith has lauded as “filled with sentiment and warmth [integrating] both passion and gentle emotion."
And now, with her sophomore outing, True Colors (Disc Union, 2013) – another sublime mix of American and Brazilian standards, plus two Japanese-themed originals and Toru Takemitsu’s ‘Meguriai’ – she has more than fulfilled the early promise of her debut.
Erika shines leading a stellar cast of internationally-renowned musicians, including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Gil Goldstein, Romero Lubambo, Dana Leong, Gregoire Maret, Juancho Herrera, Yosvany Terry, Helio Alves, Paulo Levi, James Zollar (who featured Erika's "caressing vocals" on his JZAZ Records album, It's All Good People), Jorge Continentino, Garrett Fishbach, Meg Okura, Essiet Essiet, Leo Traversa, Willard Dyson and Keita Ogawa.
The album was picked by the prestigious jazz website JazzPage.com as “Finest Vocal Album of 2013”, also snagging her the title "Finest Vocalist of 2013". In addition, Erika was voted into first place on the JazzPage.com Readers Poll.
A protégé of the great Sheila Jordan, Erika studied classical piano as a child and, in her late teens, joined an all-girl rock group, the Tear Drops, which won first pize in the Yamaha Teen Music Festival in May 1994. A chance meeting with jazz pianist Ysuke Hirado, led to her being invited to perform in New York as lead singer with his Tokyo-based band, Quasimode.
It was the beginning of her love affair with New York. Erika soon relocated, studying for a BFA in jazz voice at the 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 was also awarded the prestigious Pro Musica award, which is given to graduating music majors for distinguished service to the cause of music at the college, Erika 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 the nation.
Based in New York, she has performed at many of city's top venues, including BB Kings, Sweet Rhythm, the Kitano, S.O.B.’s and the Blue Note, and regularly tours Japan, where she recently appeared on the popular national TV show, Woman on the Planet.