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Hiromi Uehara - Spiral CD (album) cover


Hiromi Uehara


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.34 | 39 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars Not so much crazed fusion workout as a warmer, more composition based entity, Spiral still twirls itself around your head with occasionally wild time signatures and degrees of difficulty concerning melody lines that make this sort of jazz a big no-no if you're looking for background music to go with a candlelight dinner. The title track is a real babe though, a song I would love to roll around on a bearskin rug by the fireplace. Soft atmospheric opening, a gorgeous main melody, a beautiful spacey bass solo, some synth washes here and there to add a bit of ambience...great stuff.

Then comes, in my opinion, the most important section of this album, the Music for Three Piece Orchestra, which covers tracks two through five. With just a piano, bass and drums, these compositions have as much influence derived from the prog rock genre as with jazz and classical music. "Edge" seems like a jazzy variation of ELP's Tarkus at times. Impressive. In fact, the whole suite is impressive, particularly "Deja Vu", one of her best compositions in general.

"Old Castle, By the River, In the Middle of the Forest" is a sweet number, again more composition-based than a flailing improv, which makes this effort an easy one to digest for those getting into this sort of fusion material. By "Love and Laughter", though, I was looking for something a bit different. The playing is stellar as usual, but the song does seem like a bit of a knock-off after everything that came before my itchiness to skip it is sometimes hard to contain.

All the piano based grooves up until now make "Return of the Kung-Fu World Champion" all the more jarring as she ditches the piano and rips out a bunch of wild, funky synthy riffs over a fast tempo. The song cooks, although it does go on for a bit. Still, it stands out bigtime and makes for a great live number.

The playing by all three members of this trio is fantastic, and at times, astonishing. Hiromi proves her playing and composing chops quite well here. Definitely worth checking out.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |


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