Hiromi

Live in Concert [Heads Up]

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In June 2009, Telarc simultaneously released two live DVDs by Japanese pianist/keyboardist Hiromi Uehara: Live in Concert and Hiromi's Sonicbloom Live in Concert. While the latter is a quartet recording from 2008 that unites Hiromi with bassist Tony Grey, drummer Martin Valihora, and guitarist David Fiuczynski, this DVD documents a trio performance that was filmed at the Shinagawa Stellar Ball on December 2, 2005. Take away Fiuczynski, and you have the trio heard on Live in Concert. With Hiromi on acoustic piano and electric keyboards (mostly acoustic piano), Grey on electric bass, and Valihora on drums, the threesome's 94-minute appearance at Shinagawa sometimes ventures into fusion territory but is more post-bop than anything. Hiromi has a variety of moods during the concert. Sometimes, she is reflective and impressionistic; other times, she is playful -- and there are also moments of passionate, emotional exuberance. Thankfully, she has intuitive support through it all; the trio with Grey and Valihora is a cohesive one, and both of them are clearly appreciative of Hiromi's unpredictability. In terms of direct or indirect influences, Hiromi looks to a variety of pianists for inspiration. Chick Corea, Bill Evans, and Ahmad Jamal are obvious influences, but some of her pianism brings to mind Carmel-era Joe Sample -- and the more exuberant parts of this concert suggest Michel Camilo. But Hiromi is her own person; pianists who have had a direct or indirect impact on her playing are not people she goes out of her way to emulate. Live in Concert isn't Hiromi's most essential release, but it is still an engaging document of her December 2005 appearance at the Shinagawa Stellar Ball.

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