Takahiro "Tak" Matsumoto (松本孝弘, Matsumoto Takahiro?, born on March 27, 1961 in Toyonaka, Osaka) is a Japanese guitarist, producer, arranger, composer and songwriter. In-addition to a solo career, he is the guitarist and lead arranger for the hard rock band B'z.
Tak's formal education in jazz was minimal, but when he started working as a session musician, and supporting many tours like TM Network, his musicianship was cemented. His exposure to a myriad of styles helped him to meld his own unique blend, incorporating elements of his jazz training, blues (his incorporation of the style known as "Kansai Blues" is well known), classical, metal, rock, and ska.
Tak continued his session work throughout the early and mid-1980s until deciding to jump on the emerging solo instrumental trend catching on in Japan at that time. He recorded "Thousand Wave"and working with future globe headliner Tetsuya Komuro. "99", a simple instrumental incorporating some blistering fretwork, is considered one of his finest works.
After the solo album he decided to try his hand at starting his own band. With his session work behind him, and a burgeoning production career, he started to search for a singer. After being presented with a tape from an unknown session singer known as Koshi Inaba, Tak was blown away. Their first recorded session was a rendition of "Let It Be" of the Beatles fame, and even though the amp blew out, Tak knew he had his new singer. Tak and Koshi formed the band B'z and debuted in September 1988. B'z has continued to be one of the most successful bands in the history of Japanese music, helped by the pairing of two very different musical directions. Tak always drew his tastes from blues, classical, and jazz, while Koshi preferred rock music. Tak has ongoing friendships with musicians such as Barry Sparks, Marty Friedman, Billy Sheehan, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Martin, Jack Blades, Joe Perry, Pat Torpey, Shane Gaalaas, Steven Tyler, and Steve Vai, with whom Tak and Koshi recorded the song "Asian Sky" from the 1999 album, "The Ultra Zone". Billy Sheehan recorded tracks for 1999's "Brotherhood" album, as well as touring (along with Shane Gaalaas) as support musicians for 2002's Green Live-Gym Tour.
In 2004, Tak formed the "Tak Matsumoto Group" with Eric Martin on vocal, Jack Blades on bass, and Brian Tichy on drums, forging ahead with his own brand of musical genius. Tak played guitar, produced the album and wrote songs while Eric and Jack wrote lyrics. On March, the single "Oh Japan ~Our Time Is Now~", was released. The album TMG I that made Tak go back and forth to US for the recording, was released on June 23. Tak has had this project idea for a long time, the album mixes rock and oriental sound. The album topped the chart on the first week. Tak energetically kept working. On July 18, 19 and 20, Tak had a collaboration concert with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall. At this special concert named Tokyo Special Collaboration 2004 Matsumoto Takahiro -HANA-, Tak played B'z hit Love Phantom and solo number HANA with his only guitar and the Orchestra.
Soon after, TMG started its tour rehearsal. From July 30, the "Dodge The Bullet" tour started at ZEPP Fukuoka. Chris Frazier who played songs on the B'z album Big Machine joined as drummer for this tour. TMG had 16 shows in 8 locations including the last show at Nihon Budokan.
In November, Tak established his own label "House of Strings" which emphasizes guitarists and string musicians. He recorded again at a studio the songs played with orchestra in July, and released it as the first House of Strings CD with the same title on the album. It is an instrumental album including Christmas numbers such as "Itsukano Merry Christmas" and "HOLY NIGHT".
Tak has said over the years that he has many favourite artists, from whom he has drawn much inspiration, such as: Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. He has also cited a love of classical music, which was the catalyst for the incorporation of strings into many B'z compositions. He has also worked with Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra for many years, and their work often appears on many of the earlier B'z albums.
Tak was given his own Signature Model Les Paul from Gibson in 1999. Tak Matsumoto was added to the Gibson signature artist club as the first and to date, the only guitarist from Asia. He now currently holds the record with 4 different signature models produced, including a new tiger-striped, offset double cut model, which incorporates his new, specially wound TM-1 pickups. His Les Paul model was also adapted into an Epiphone made for commercial sale in the US.
Tak wrote the music of "Real Face" for KAT-TUN. "Real Face" became the Japanese best-selling single in 2006. close