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Hiromi Uehara - Spiral CD (album) cover


Hiromi Uehara


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.34 | 39 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars We know that Hiromi Uehara was a pupil of Chick Corea; in 2008 they even released an album together. All the indications seem to be that Hiromi is, first and foremost, a typical "fusion" player, but when I listen to her albums I am continually reminded of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Mind you, I'm not thinking of the Hammond-organ saturated ELP of 'Stones of Years' or 'Jerusalem', and even less of synth- soaked compositions like 'Abbadon's Bolero'. But I can't get it out of my head that Hiromi must be familiar with ELP as piano trio, especially on tracks such as 'Take a Pebble' and the acoustic middle section of 'Karn Evil 9'.

All of Spiral's "official" tracks are acoustic. Hiromi uses a Yamaha grand piano throughout. Her bass player, Tony Grey, is of the calibre of Jeff Berlin; he has a knack of performing astonishing solos that make his bass sound like a super-swift electric guitar. Her drummer, Martin Valihora, is a joy throughout: a true virtuoso in his own right. Together they perform compositions that seem more strongly influenced by rock and classical European concert music than by jazz or blues. Hiromi writes delicate, unforgettable and unsentimental melodies (among contemporary jazz pianists this is a comparatively rare ability), and in her playing she often resorts to a beautiful legato that wouldn't sound out of place in a Haydn or Beethoven sonata. What especially reminds me of ELP is her tendency to play rapid, sure-fire riffs with her left hand, and to improvise with her right. Yes, Hiromi's trio really is a lean and modern-sounding update of the old ELP!

As bonus we get a super-fast, super-funky delivery of Hiromi's own 'Return of Kung-Fu World Champion'. Now this is out-and-out fusion! Chirpy synths are employed throughout, and the music will remind you of Return to Forever or Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. I can't imagine it won't put a smile on your face. Enjoy!

fuxi | 3/5 |


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