Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Enthralled With Hiromi Uehara

Don't tell my wife, but I'm in love with another woman. Well, actually, I'm exaggerating a little. I'm not in love with the woman (you know I have to say that), but I am in love with her musical brilliance.

I'm talking about Hiromi Uehara, a 32-year-old Japanese pianist who is called a jazz pianist but actually blends and transcends musical categories to deliver phenomenal keyboard virtuosity and passion in solo and group performances all over the world.

I had never even heard of Hiromi until today, but now that I've watched some of her videos on YouTube and listened to one of her albums, I will certainly never forget her and will do my best to attend one or more of her concerts if she ever comes to my neck of the California woods.

Rarely has a musician bowled me over from the very beginning the way she has. In fact, I can think of only one other who has had this kind of earth-shaking immediate impact on me.

No doubt, Hiromi's looks and joyful exhuberance on stage have something to do with it, but her music is also extraordinary. That's what the great jazz pianist Chick Corea must have thought when he discovered her in Tokyo years ago and had her play with him the next evening. And that's what jazz bassist extraordinaire Stanley Clarke must have thought when she toured and recorded with him sometime back.

You can read her Wikipedia bio here, check out her website here, read a 2003 interview with her here, and sample some of her amazing musical artistry below. But be sure to watch and not just listen:


Jessica M said...

What an amazing artist! I would have never have come across her if it wasn't for you sharing her music. Thanks!

Steve said...

She is a phenomenal artist, and not just for her piano wizardry but also her playfulness and passion. I've never seen anyone like her. I say "seen," because, as wonderful as her music is to listen to, what really sets it and her apart can be fully appreciated only by WATCHING her. Thank goodness the Internet affords many chances to do just that!

Adam Lasnik said...

I don't know where you are in California, but I just learned that Hiromi is performing at the intimate venue of Yoshi's in Oakland in April! I plan on attending at least one of her performances, since I'm similarly in awe of her talent and in love with her expressiveness :-)

Johnny said...

Who is that playing the deux guit on the third video?

Steve said...

Johnny, his name is Dave Fiuczynski. You can read about him here:

Steve said...

Adam, I'm sorry I didn't see and publish your comment until today. Such are the perils of comment moderation.

Yes, I am very aware of Hiromi's upcoming performances at Yoshi's in Oakland and have already bought my tickets for one of them. I live in Sacramento.

I don't think I've been this excited about a concert since the first John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, and Paco DeLucia acoustic "Guitar Trio" concert at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco in 1980. I attended that one the night after they recorded their famous "Friday Night in San Francisco" album.

I've been preparing for the Hiromi concert by listening over and over to her marvelous "Voices" album, which contains the music they'll be showcasing at Yoshi's.

I've never been to Yoshi's, but people tell me it's a great music venue, with outstanding acoustics and views from everywhere. How wonderful that you'll be attending too. Hiromi is such an incredible talent and beautiful person.

I plan to blog about my experience. I hope you'll come back to comment on yours. If you do, I'll try to make sure that I publish your comment immediately.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts EXACTLY! Totally in love with her music/performance and feel lucky to have seen & interacted with her live in Bern.