Altair & Vega

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Bob James and Keiko Matsui's Altair & Vega is a solo piano album performed by a duo, and for the most part, that means what it sounds like, two jazz pianists seated together at one keyboard playing four-handed parts. On the James-composed title track (which refers to two stars that pass each other only once a year), previously recorded and released on the 2001 James album Dancing on the Water, Matsui takes the upper part of the piano and James the lower part in a piece that sounds more new age than jazz. Matsui's "Frozen Lake" (which finds them separating to their own keyboards, James' is a digital one) leans even more in that direction, suggesting the sound of ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Bob James and Keiko Matsui's Altair & Vega is a solo piano album performed by a duo, and for the most part, that means what it sounds like, two jazz pianists seated together at one keyboard playing four-handed parts. On the James-composed title track (which refers to two stars that pass each other only once a year), previously recorded and released on the 2001 James album Dancing on the Water, Matsui takes the upper part of the piano and James the lower part in a piece that sounds more new age than jazz. Matsui's "Frozen Lake" (which finds them separating to their own keyboards, James' is a digital one) leans even more in that direction, suggesting the sound of David Lanz or George Winston (or the two together). James' "Divertimento," for which they are back on the same piano bench, is a lively piece based on Haydn, while Matsui's "Midnight Stone" and "Invisible Wing" again bring in new age elements, the latter also showing a classical influence. The album's real tour de force is the 13-minute, jointly written "Forever Variations" (a take-off from Matsui's "Forever Forever"), which is full of fast, dense passages that take four hands to play. At the end, Bach's familiar "Chorale from Cantata BWV 147" is given an unusually melancholic treatment in James' arrangement, serving as a coda. The wonder is that the two busy pianists don't get in each other's way in this music, but the album is the culmination of years of playing together, in the studio and on concert tours, so a lot of preparation went into these performances, resulting in an accomplished recording of some intricate keyboard playing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/27/2011
  • Label: Ent. One Music
  • UPC: 099923212522
  • Catalog Number: 2125
  • Sales rank: 33,370

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Altair & Vega - Keiko Matsui (6:51)
  2. 2 Frozen Lake - Keiko Matsui (6:42)
  3. 3 Divertimento: "The Professor & the Student" - Keiko Matsui (6:55)
  4. 4 Midnight Stone - Keiko Matsui (6:07)
  5. 5 Invisible Wing - Keiko Matsui (4:30)
  6. 6 The Forever Variations - Keiko Matsui (13:16)
  7. 7 Chorale From Cantana BWV 147 - Keiko Matsui (3:20)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Divertimento: "the Professor & the Student" - Keiko Matsui
  2. 2 Frozen Lake - Keiko Matsui
  3. 3 Trees - Keiko Matsui
  4. 4 Duo Oto Subito - Keiko Matsui
  5. 5 The Touch of Your Lips - Keiko Matsui
  6. 6 Forever Variations - Keiko Matsui
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bob James Primary Artist, Soloist, Piano (Grand)
Keiko Matsui Piano, Soloist
Technical Credits
Bob James Arranger, Composer, Producer, Adaptation
Keiko Matsui Composer
Ray Noble Composer
Jay Ashby Camera Operator
Johann Sebastian Bach Composer
Ken Freeman Producer, Engineer
Paul Grosso Creative Digital Reinforcement
Marion Orr Producer, Management
Jay Dudt Engineer
Jack Leitenberg Management
Jerry Hughes Director
Steve Vavagiakis Mastering
Dino DiStefano Camera Operator
Sean Marlowe Art Direction
Keith Seymour Camera Operator
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