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Is there any hype out there about pianist Hiromi? There should beshe's a major new talent, brimming with originality and musical joy.
From the opening notes of the first trio cut, "XYZ," it's obvious that something special is going on here. Hiromi Uehara has a million stories, and she tells them with all her heart and soul. There is a brash urgency in "XYZ"; but with Hiromi, perhaps brash is too harsh a word. It seems more the ebullient self assurance of a young artist in the throes of creative rapture.
All the songs on Another Mind are Hiromi originals. The second cut, the eleven minute- plus "Double Personality," goes through several personality changes. It starts out fusion- tinted, like something from the Miles Davis/Marcus Miller collaborations of the late eighties, or from the Chick Corea Electric Band of the same era. Very crisp, sharp-edged alto sax work from Jim Odgren, followed by Dave Fiuczynski's tortured guitar moans, lead into Hiromi's delicate bird flight of a solo that morphs into a driving freight train groove that races back into the fusion side of sound.
"Summer Rain" is a quartet outingOgren on alto sax againand this one must have been a something to watch (performed live, like all the takes). Hiromi just bounces with energy. On her solo shelike Chick Coreaconveys the attitude of considering absolutely anything possible with those eighty-eight keys.
The remaining numbers are all trio outingswith one exception, the whimsically complex bonus track, "Tom and Jerry"that sound BIG or delicate and nuanced, lush or spare. "Truth or Lies" is a highlight, with a dark mood pervading, as though maybe the lies are winning this one battle.
With one listen to Another Mind it's clear that Hiromi, though only twenty-four years old, is the real thing: a multi-faceted and remarkably original talent. Her musical trainingYamaha Music School, Berkleehas laid a broad foundation without constraining her joyous musical heart or slowing the bubbling flow of her musical ideas.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.