Hiromi/The Trio Project – Voice – Telarc/Concord Music Group TEL-32819-02, 66:01 *****:
(Hiromi, piano & keyboards; Anthony Jackson, contrabass guitar; Simon Phillips, drums)
Hiromi Uehara is quite an amazing jazz star who has been well-served by the Telarc label. She started out at age 6 with classical music, and played with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. At age 17 she met Chick Corea by accident in Tokyo and he invited her to play with him in his concert the next day. Later, at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, she was mentored by Ahmad Jamal, and signed with Telarc before her graduation. She is both a fine composer and jazz virtuoso, and covers a wide spectrum of musical genres, including not just straight ahead – somewhat avant-jazz but progressive rock, fusion and classical. Her live performances are full of energy and zest and she seems to really love everything she does. Hiromi plays a Yamaha concert grand as well as several different electronic keyboards.
All the first eight tracks here are Hiromi originals, and the first one opens in the style and form of the Beethoven Sonata movement she plays on the ninth and final track of the CD. But it quickly morphs into her patented wild jazz fusion style, with a lot of great solos from her former Berklee School classmate, guitarist Anthony Jackson. Their musical partnership is the key to making this piano trio sound so much more path-breaking and interesting than the typical jazz piano trio. “Now or Never” has plenty of electronic punctuation from her various electronic keyboards. The track “Haze” again reverts to a classical style for solo piano, without the rhythm section. “Delusion” returns to the trio setting with a funky theme drawn out to nearly eight minutes. The closing Beethoven sonata movement is transformed into a swinging but honorific trio setting similar to Jacque Loussier’s recordings of Bach selections.
It’s a shame the original recording here is DSD – recording and mastering done by Michael Bishop of Five/Four Productions – yet due to the strictures of new owners Concord Music Group the release has been limited to standard CD.
Voice, Flashback, Now or Never, Temptation, Labyrinth, desire, Haze, Delusion, Beethoven: “Pathetique” Sonata No. 8
— John Henry