PERFORMER: Hiromi Uehara (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-83695
Solo performances are widely regarded as the ultimate test for pianists, but I demur. The special magic of jazz arises from the way musicians listen and respond to their colleagues as much as from the imagination and technical effort put into their solos.
However, Hiromi has already proved herself a fine group player, and has also recorded a duo album with Chick Corea, so I guess this solo session was inevitable.
Hiromi prefers not to be pigeon-holed as jazz, but in this dazzling recital she again demonstrates that, whatever other elements she incorporates, she has a solid grounding in, and thorough command of, the jazz piano tradition.
On ‘BQE’ she melds Art Tatum with classical maverick Conlon Nancarrow. On subsequent tracks she provides object lessons in neo-stride, taking in Ellington and Monk, lays out rich chord patterns suggesting turbo-charged versions of Tristano, and nods to the Impressionists. Four-and-a-half stars! Barry Witherden