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Hiromi Uehara - The Trio Project: Live in Marciac CD (album) cover


Hiromi Uehara


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.38 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Sorry to break the consensus (of the three ratings this far), but no, I'm not going to rate this DVD with five stars, as lovely as this artist is. The Japanese jazz pianist and composer Hiromi (b. 1979) came to my radar several years ago in the get-togethers with my prog-loving friends. Someone knew the artist and we all were delighted by the youtube clips showing Hiromi playing live. The music itself was of course good too, but what really warmed our hearts was the sheer happiness and joy that shone from her face. The cover of this DVD gives you some idea of it. There's absolutely not a shadow of a doubt left: Hiromi just LOVES what she's doing on stage, and she lets it show.

This concert was shot at Marciac Jazz Festival, France, in 2011, the same year when the first Trio Project studio album Voice was released. The keyboardist is accompanied by American bassist Anthony Jackson (b. 1952), a session veteran since the seventies, and British drummer Simon Phillips (b. 1957), undoubtedly known by many prog listeners for having worked with Mike Oldfield, Mike Rutherford and Toto among others. So, we're dealing with virtuoso musicianship here. But sadly, the bass was mixed too low and it was almost inaudible through the whole concert, at least to my ears. Even on the solo spots the instrument's sound was tiny. The sonic density created by Hiromi's piano (and occasional synths) and Phillips' gorgeous drumming seemed to leave the bass somewhere behind. This really bothered me a bit.

The set list of roughly an hour-long concert consists only of seven pieces, five of them from the mentioned Voice album, very understandably so since the trio was pretty young at the time. Among them is the playful jazz version of the well-known slow movement of the "Pathetique" Piano Sonata No. 8 by Beethoven. That piece concentrates very sovereignly on Hiromi's improvisation-like pianism, the rhythm section mostly giving a steady, mild backing. The music of this concert in general is dynamic, fusion-ish contemporary jazz with a relatively strong contribution from the drummer. What I perhaps missed a bit were more delicate and emotionally deeper moments. Probably I was in advance too excited by the idea of the entire Hiromi concert (as opposed to youtube clips) and wasn't as fully impressed by the longish pieces as I had hoped. But if you're more acquainted with Hiromi and her Trio Project in particular, your enjoyment is probably bigger.

The special feature is placed at the end of the film instead of a separate bonus feature spot -- if that matters anything. Well, otherwise I most likely would have started viewing from there, as an appetizer. The 20-minute 'Five Days, Five Countries' is a typical concert DVD extra as it follows the trio on their European tour. Stepping out of a plane, driving on a car (Simon Phillips making jokes of going the wrong way), making soundchecks on the various venues and solving technical problems, giving short clips of the gigs, etc. Jackson and Phillips are not much interviewed at all, and also Hiromi's interview remains pretty short. She says how much she loves performing for the live audience and that she likes visiting various countries and also feels positive about the diversity of the venues themselves, some of them very 'classical' halls, some more club-like places.

Musically very good stuff, sure, but as a DVD this is somewhere between three and four stars for me.

Matti | 4/5 |


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