On her self-titled debut, Masako proves herself to be a classy and elegant composer with an ear for music and a golden touch on the keyboard.
The entire album exudes the serenity and tranquility of New England, which is no surprise considering that it is inspired by the Japan-born artist’s adopted home state of Vermont.
Under the creative guidance of Grammy-winning guitarist, Windham Hill Records founder, and producer William Ackerman and the technical acumen of engineer Rob Eaton, Masako’s beautiful collection of piano-based tunes showcases her unique and rare affinity for combining high and low keys. There is also the sense of Masako’s Japanese culture and heritage nicely filtering through the prism of contemporary new age music, especially considering her various influences, such as George Winston and many of Ackerman’s former Windham Hill artists.
Helping Masako realize her vision is a fine ensemble of world-class musicians who accentuate various tracks with tasteful hints of their brilliance. These include Premik on wind synthesizer, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English horn, Tony Levin on bass, and Jeff Haynes on percussion.
This is an excellent recording and essential listening for those who enjoy fine piano-based music.