July 16th, 2006


Hiromi Uehara - Brain [2004]

Among those artists currently reinventing the jazz piano trio, such as E.S.T. and The Bad Plus--Hiromi is rapidly moving to the forefront. A protégé of Ahmad Jamal who played in duet with Chick Corea when she was 17, Hiromi's influences are very broad--Beethoven and Debussy somehow align with P-Funk. Part of her success lies in her skill with electronics, evident in the pulsing rhythmic overlays of "Kung-Fu World Champion" or the strange, calliope-like sound that announces the theme of "Brain." But it's her consummate piano playing that ties all of the threads together, whether it's the impressionist-flavored solo of "Green Tea Farm" or the bustling runs and charging interplay that she leads on "Desert of the Moon" with bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Martin Valihora. Hiromi practices an art of surprise, touching on video-game tempos and Bill Evans harmonies as she arranges tradition and novelty in fresh configurations. --Stuart Broomer
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