Hiromi Uehara (上原ひろみ, born 26 March 1979), known as Hiromi, is a jazz composer and pianist born in Hamamatsu, Japan. She is known for her virtuosic technique, energetic live performances and blend of musical genres such as post-bop, progressive rock, classical and fusion in her compositions.
Pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara, whose passionate and incendiary keyboard work has been a shining light on the jazz landscape since her 2003 debut, believes that the voice that never speaks can sometimes be the most powerful of all.
Hiromi started learning classical piano at age five, and was later on introduced to jazz by her piano teacher Noriko Hikida. At 14, she played with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. When she was 17, she met Chick Corea by chance in Tokyo, and was invited to play with him at his concert the next day. After being a jingle writer for a few years for Japanese companies such as Nissan, she enrolled to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. There, she was mentored by Ahmad Jamal and had already signed with jazz label Telarc before her graduation.
Since her debut in 2003, Hiromi has toured the world and appeared in numerous jazz festivals. She performed live at the Newport Jazz Festival on August 8, 2009, and at the Paris Olympia in Paris on April 13, 2010, and toured in the summer of 2010 with the Stanley Clarke Band.
The First Trio EditHiromi's trio initially consisted of bassist Mitch Cohn and drummer Dave DiCenso. Her debut album (or the trio's rather) was Another Mind in 2003, which included guest artists Anthony Jackson (Bass), Jim Odgren (alto sax) and Fiuczynski David Fiuczynsk (guitar). The album, while not very popularly received among domestic jazz fans was taken quite well abroad and received the award for foreign jazz album of the year in the 2004 Japan Annual Gold Disc Awards. Later that year, she recorded her second album Brain (Bassist Anthony Jackson was guest artist on three Brain tracks) with fellow Berklee alumni bassist Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora and has been recording and touring with them ever since until 2011 with the formation of the Trio Project. The trio's last album (before evolving into "Hiromi's Sonicbloom") was Spiral which has been well received around the world and possibly classifyh as the most progressive and exciting album the trio had produced. 
Hiromi's Sonicbloom EditOn October 19, 2006, the trio added guitarist David Fiuczynski in a performance at the Jazz Factory in Louisville, Kentucky, to form Hiromi's Sonicbloom. The trio had previously recorded with him on their first album Another Mind. Due to Fiuczynski's teaching commitments at Berklee College of Music, guitarist John Shannon performed with the group when Fiuczynski is unavailable. Drummer Mauricio Zottarelli would later join Hiromi's Sonicbloom for the 2009 tour.
The group only released two albums. The first, Time Control, which focused on human perception of time as its concept. As a result Hiromi incorporated many uncommon time signatures into her piece, sometimes switching between them in the same song. The group's second album Beyond Standard, centered around the idea of taking classic jazz standards such as Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise and making them into modern fusionesque style tunes. Both albums were well received by the jazz community.
The group went on many tours and even tually produced the DVD video "Hiromi's Sonicbloom Live in Concert."
The Intermediate PeriodEdit
After touring with the Sonicbloom for a while, Hiromi decided to go in a nother direction with her music -- specifically into the solo piano relam of jazz. Along this time she also sought the opportunity to collaborate with jazz master pianist and fusion keyboardist Chick Corea on a duo album later appropriately titled Duet. The album contained many originals by both Chick and Hiromi such as "Spain" and "Deja Vu" respectively, while also conatining unique versions of jazz standards such as "Summertime." The duo did go on tour together, complementing each other on everyshow however trying to hold back whether it was Chick letting Hiromi shine or Hiromi intentionally holding back for Chick to bust out his percussive licks.
Hiromi eventually released her first (and so far only) solo piano album entitled Place to Be. It received mixed reviews as some praised it for showing off Hiromi's virtuosity while to others it came off as a hugemongous showoff solo piano session.
Music critic John Fordham said "If the star-system operated on technical prowess alone, young Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi would be off the scale for this mind-boggling piece of solo virtuosity – but as with all dazzling virtuosi, something substantial has to carry the show once you've got used to the amazing execution. Hiromi switches ideas and motifs in torrrential mid-flow, careers between boogies, stride-piano stomps and bop swing without a blink (a gamine individual, she nonetheless operates a left hand like a jackhammer) and loves the piano styles pioneered by legends such as Fats Waller and Art Tatum . . . But though the title track is a mostly restrained ballad, there aren't quite enough places to shelter from the hail of notes."
The Trio ProjectEditIn 2011, Hiromi, Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips came together for the first time in the studio to create their first album together, Voice. Hiromi had previous played with Jackson in the studio during his occasional visits with her first trio. During the recording session of Voice one may be surprised to note that the chemistry within the trio was not as cohesive as in following albums between these three. Although the album was a bit of a success, their first tour was what sealed the deal for the trio as they the feeling of playing live allowed each of the members to know each other on a personal musical level.
"When I play music, I realize that it really filters emotions," says Hiromi. "I called this album Voice because I believe that people's real voices are expressed in their emotions. It's not something that you really say. It's more something that you have in your heart. Maybe it's something you haven't said yet. Maybe you're never going to say it. But it's your true voice. Instrumental music is very similar. We don't have any words or any lyrics to go with it. It's the true voice that we don't really put into words, but we feel it when it's real."
Since then the release of Voice and its subsequent tour, the Trio Project released 2 more albums: Move in 2012 and Alive in 2014. In recent years, however her work with the Trio Project while bringing intense energy to every performance has been criticized for being strikingly similar between concerts, tours and tunes. However, equally successful tours followed both Move and Alive.
Currently Hiromi still tours with the trio project promoting their latest album, Alive. In recent years she began touring with Latin jazz pianist Michel Camilo playing concerts as a duo that included tunes such as Caravan, Billie's Bounce and Camilo's original "Tropical Jam." Plans for an album between these two great musicians have been rumored though it is uncertain if this will come true as Camilo has taken on the task of collaborating with other musicians to dedicate a soundtrack to cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, who's afro-cubano pieces have been transformed into latin jazz standards. Hiromi also ocassionally gives solo piano concerts, including mostly her repetiore from her solo piano album Place to Be.
Studio albums (as "Hiromi Uehara")
Studio albums (as "Hiromi's Sonicbloom")
Studio albums (as "Hiromi")
- Place to Be (2009) - Solo piano with guest Akiko Yano on a bonus track.
- Duet (2008, Japan; 2009, international) - live album recorded with Chick Corea at the Tokyo Blue Note.
Studio albums (as "The Trio Project")
- Hiromi Live in Concert (2009, recorded in 2005)
- Hiromi's Sonicbloom Live in Concert (2007)
- Solo Live at Blue Note New York (2011)
- Hiromi: Live In Marciac (2012)
- The Stanley Clarke Trio (featuring Hiromi and Lenny White) - Jazz in the Garden (2009)
- Flashback - Triangle Soundtrack (2009)
- Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra - Goldfingers (2010)
- The Stanley Clarke Band - The Stanley Clarke Band (2010)
- Akiko Yano and Hiromi - Get Together -LIVE IN TOKYO- (2011)
- ↑ Jackson, Grant (April 23, 2010). "Hiromi On Piano Jazz". NPR Music. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18821935. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- ↑ Boston Globe interview
- ↑ Concord Music Group - "Voice" by Hiromi
- ↑ Mauricio Zottarelli myspace page
- ↑ "Hiromi :The Solo Piano Sorcery of Place To Be". Keyboard Magazine. http://www.keyboardmag.com/article/hiromi--solo/January-2010/105575. Retrieved 11 Jun 2011.
- ↑ Coolestsound.jp
- Template:En Official web (hiromimusic.com)
- Template:Ja Official web in japanese (HiromiUehara.com)
- Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz interview
- Voice review on Prog Sphere