Online since August 2002

Hiromi keeps pushing

From the Spring 2004 issue.

By Hiromi Uehara

Telarc Records: 2004

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

Pianist Hiromi Uehara, a tightly wound spring of a artist, energy personified, adds electronics to the piano trio format on "Brain," her second disc for Telarc Records. As on her debut, "Another Mind," this diminutive Japanese-Bostonian takes chances. More so on "Brain," Where she blends classical sounds, rock and electronica into her own personal musical vision.

Showing growth as a composer, her "If ..." displays an ever-shifting lyrical imagination and changing moods, while the title track brings electronic keyboard textures into segments of organic acoustic piano interludes.

The bottom line with Hiromi is her charmingly brash, knows-no-boundaries musicianship. She is a fearless musician/composer who defies categorization. Anything, one senses, is possible when Hiromi meets keyboard to tell her stories, tales full of intricate subtexts and fascinating asides.

Hiromi dedicates the opener, the electrical "Kung Fu World Champion," to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, inspired, she says, by their energy. If they're listening (wherever they are) they'll probably say, "Right back at you, girlfriend!", while "Desert on the Moon" traverses sharp-lipped craters (acoustically) and stark, craggy peaks.

Hiromi's mixing of electronic keyboard with an acoustic sound may not be for everyone – and the mix may not be as seamless as it could be – but it does indeed shake up the traditional piano trio format, adding electro-luminiscent threads to her energetic, lush and orchestral textures.

A compelling set from a young artist to watch and listen to, very closely.

Review by Dan McClenaghan. Dan is a writer living in Oceanside, Calif. Read his biography on his AllAboutJazz.com page.

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