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The 'Spark' of Hiromi is Palpable on New Telarc Release [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com on Apr 03, 2016 04:12 PM EDT

She's one of the most stunning piano players in years. Japanese composer Hiromi is back with her newest Spark (Telarc), her tenth CD since her 2003 Another Mind debut. She delivers eight super-charged tracks with her Trio Project and one dreamy solo track ("Wake Up and Dream").

Is she the Jazz Elton? That may be silly but damned if the opening title track doesn't morph into something resembling Mr. John's "Funeral For A Friend." She tackles Latin rhythms ("In A Trance"), what could be called Afro-Caribbean Prog-Rock, if such a thing exists ("Wonderland"), shape-shifting tempi ("Dilemma" is in 11/8), funk ("What Will Be, Will Be") and instrumental pop (the happy closer "All's Well" complete with hand claps).

The Trio Project has been together five years. Contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson is a real pro, with the ability to alter his mindscapes to fit any scenario. This musician's musician has graced-and added immeasurably-to the music of Paul Simon, Steely Dan and Chick Corea. Drummer Simon Phillips has done the same for no less than The Who, Jack Bruce, Judas Priest and Toto.

Hiromi, 36, moved to the States when she was 20 and fell under the sway of legendary pianist Ahmad Jamal (now 85 and still sounding wonderful on his last CD, 2013's Saturday Morning). In 2009, Hiromi and Chick Corea made Duet, which proved she could hold her own with anyone (Corea's known her since she was 17.) Hiromi was also on bassist Stanley Clarke's Jazz In The Garden that same year. She debuted her Trio Project in 2011 with Voice, followed it up in 2013 with Move and was Alive in-concert in 2014. Her Spark obviously still burns bright.

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TagsHiromi, Telarc International Corporation, REVIEW, Elton John

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