What's really super cool about Silver Lining Suite is that if you listen to it while engrossed in your daily blessings or misgivings, the music plays like one of those old movies where everyone had something to say but the technology, unlike today, lagged behind our capacity to hear it. All you heard was the theater's live orchestra, the pianist, the boys in the band. And it was a glorious sound that opened your imagination, opened your heart and mind making all good things possible despite the duress encountered.
It's a great approach which makes Silver Lining Suite a great record. Sure Hiromi has made great records before, ie: Spiral(Telarc, 2006), Alive(Concord, 2014), Spark (Universal, 2016), but her emotional stance, compositional clarity and virtuosity is close to, if not, at peak here. The music sweeps you up, dances, releases, massages. Like warm water, like warm open hands, the music inspires you forward.
Resulting from a series of livestreams from the Blue Note in Tokyo, (thirty-two solo concerts over sixteen days in August/September 2020) this second round of livestreams is far more than Hiromi with strings. Violinist Tatsuo Nishie, (concertmaster of the New Japan Philharmonic), second violinist Sohei Birmann, Meguna Nak on viola, and cellist Wataru Mukai not only provide new canvases for the ever inquisitive composer to finger paint upon, they also become the lifeblood of her thinking. She parallels and verticals, hopping from drama to keystone reverie, while inhabiting Fats Waller one moment and a rather emphatic Erroll Garner the next. "Ribera del Duero," which started life as an Instagram duet with harpist Edmar Castaneda and follows the bouncing ball, is terrific.
Which is the grateful challenge for the whole of Silver Lining Suite since "Ribera del Duero" closes this best of 2021 recording.
Isolation; The Unknown; Drifters; Fortitude; Uncertainty; Someday; Jumpstart; 11:49PM; Ribera del Duero.
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