Hiromi — Voice
(Telarc TEL-32819-02, 2011, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-07-25
That's Voice as in "finding your voice," not indicating that there is vocal music on this CD. It's the Hiromi Uehara we know and love (at least I do) with a different backing band she calls the "Trio Project." The drummer is Simon Phillips, and on bass (actually contrabass guitar) we have Anthony Jackson. The musical focus is a bit more towards the traditional than the fusion side, with Hiromi mostly sticking to piano (though she can't resist the occasional funky synth line), but all the compositions are hers (barring a jazzy arrangement of Beethoven's "Pathetique" piano sonata) and exhibit the same penchant for complexity as with her more electric material. Which is not to say that she can't groove with the best of them: "Now or Never" is one of her most soulful pieces, harking to 60s soul-jazz along the lines of Les McCann (think "Compared to What" as interpreted by Oscar Peterson with a touch of Herbie Hancock tossed in), and if I'm not mistaken actually stays exclusively in 4/4. It also features the aforementioned funky synthesizer. Other pieces dive headlong into dizzying rhythmic patterns that should satisfy any fan of fusion or math-rock in spite of the lack of a guitar. This piano trio is light-years away from cocktail lounge fare. Come to think of it, the cocktail lounge that did feature this kind of music would be a place I'd be hard pressed to ever leave — as long as the drinks were at least passable. Hiromi has risen to the ranks of my all-time favorite keyboard players, and her mastery of the piano makes the absence of Mellotrons and organs irrelevant. She may have more technique than a dozen hotshot proggers combined, but she shines even when the mood is subtle and two notes say more than twenty.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more