Flux Music Essentials
Greeting’s jazz connoisseurs, I’m back with yet another intriguing palette of creative music from some of today’s most unique, adventurous and inspiring voices known and unknown artists alike in the world of jazz.
Hiromi - Brain (Telarc, 2004)
Hiromi -][- Brain – [Telarc, 2004]
She’s got prodigious piano technique, brains and beauty (as six full-page photos included with the CD make abundantly clear), incredible energy, and lots of “mo” (is there any young instrumentalist who is bigger at the present moment?). All of which may raise some suspicions among closer followers of the jazz scene, past and present.
Admittedly, I was impressed but not captivated after a first listen. The tracks with synthesizer, the all-original program of “descriptive,” “programmatic” titles, the packaging–it smacked of commercialism and new-age aesthetics. But I recall having a similar reaction to Ahmad Jamal the first time I heard him. He didn’t employ harmonies like Art Tatum, swing like Oscar, fill up the space with complex melodic lines like Bud Powell. But over time it became clear that Ahmad was the master colorist of them all, a painter of musical tone poems that could be infinitely suggestive if not mesmerizing. Hiromi, who was “discovered” and first produced by Ahmad, has the same affinities.
Listen to “Desert on the Moon.” It ‘s a bubbling piece, more suggestive of a mountain stream in its progress through a variety of moods, tempos, textures, and dynamic contrasts. Every moment is alive and purposeful, as Hiromi takes us on a journey from rippling, impressionist passages to sharply-defined pointillism (she has some musical karate chops!) to unabashed romantic lyricism (an unapologetic allusion to “My One and Only Love”), finally bringing the force of the whole to an explosive, climactic conclusion, then just as seamlessly providing a tranquil, restorative coda.
Her piano technique extends beyond mere virtuosity. She gets a bright, pure and round sound from the instrument that is absolutely consistent in all registers and at soft as well as loud volumes. Moreover, this recording is probably the best that I’ve ever heard a piano sound on CD. If you have any sort of half-way decent stereo system, Hiromi and her Yamaha Concert Grand will be bigger than life in your living room. Better make room because from the evidence on this disk, she’ll be around for a long time to come. —Samuel Chell | Amazon.com Continue reading →