Hiromi The Trio Project feat. Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips
It’s a staccato start to the set but it soon rolls into life, a flowing liquid release of piano melody from Hiromi Uehara that always has just a hint of discord. Simon Phillips makes full use of his extensive kit with an attacking percussive style while bassist Anthony Jackson anchors the trio with a roaming bass line. Hiromi puts her whole body into songs, rising off her chair with some chords and never still. The paino chords loop for a part before giving the drums their head with an explosive chord that resolves the previous passage. Simon gets a turn in the sun, with a snappy passage demonstrating his speed across the drums with intricate rhythm.
The followup begins with a more stop/start structure but gives way a more smooth passage. This also sees the introduction of keyboard, with its more digital tone an interesting contrast to the pure analogue piano sound. The song teases with slow passages that linger for a moment before being swept away. The chemistry between the three is impressive, obvious in the fast switches of tack but more subtly evident in the gradual evolution of songs with mutual input from all. The third opens with a blizzard of piano notes, before settling into a gentle melody that restlessly surges with the encouragement of the bass and supported by drums. It morphs into a sunnier tune but ends with dramatic flair.
From this sudden ending, the next song starts with Hiromi solo, a sweet, lonely melody dancing out across the mountains. It grows up to a much more confident, full melody with the other instruments in tow as the piece moves towards the finale. The highlight of the song is the duel between bass and piano, the old fingers of Anthony more than matching Hiromi’s nimble pace. The last song of the set starts with a crash of drums as the drummer tries to hit every part of his kit while stately piano chords ring out. The climax of this section releases the song back into a river of melody and harmony, the pace gaining until it reaches manic a speed while discord creeps in. The punishing speed slows for a grandiose finish, almost rock and roll in its sound as the final tones ring out.
Hiromi is an artist that not only understands and uses the complex theory of jazz but also recognizes the importance of performance in the genre. It’s this combination that won the crowd over and had them jiving away to every note. It strikes the balance between complexity for listeners of the genre and accessibility for those that don’t, and above all putting on a show for all.
Text by Matthew Evans, Photo by Ryota Mori
Posted on 2015.7.25 15:00
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