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Live In Concert by Hiromi's Sonicbloom

Since her 2003 debut recording Another Mind, Hiromi Uehara has caught the attention of modern jazz and jazz-fusion aficionados. Her compelling arrangements, rhythmic faculties and expressive stage persona radiates luminously during this largely, up-tempo exposition captured live in December 2007 at the Tokyo International Forum Hall.

Hiromi leads a well-rehearsed unit amid her flailing arpeggios, performed on acoustic piano, to contrast her multifunctional synth lines. The powerful band projects quite a bit of dazzle, and lowers the temperature in spots, enamored by its sprightly stage persona. Guitarist Dave Fiuczynski, performing on a double-neck electric, bends his strings into wily statements while blazing a trail of fire on various pieces. Yet, he also engages in some humor via a few strategically placed false endings with the leader.

Bassist Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora are respectively emerging as top players within the jazz-centric idiom, irrefutably evidenced throughout this set. When the soloists rev it all up and ventures into split-timing maneuvers, these gents provide a thrusting framework, but also display nuance when required. The quartet also nails down the groove quotient on various works while also rendering airy and ethereal passages, often shaded by Hiromi’s textural electronics effects. At times, they fuse the best of retro jazz-fusion with a forward-moving gait that bears a mark of authenticity. Therefore, it’s not simply about technical gymnastics as the ensemble sports a personal touch, spiced with rocketing fuzoid movements and quirky deviations from the norm.

The unit performs several tracks from the 2007 Time Control album and beckons the audience’s rhythmic participation on the funk-jazz-fusion workout titled "Time Out." And they come back for an encore on the hyper-mode, and fun-filled, retro fusion "Return Of The Kung-Fu World Champion," accelerated by Grey’s monstrous lines and Hiromi’s whirlwind piano clusters. Overall, it’s an action-packed audio-visual treat for the heart and soul, augmented by more than a few unanticipated surprises.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Hiromi's Sonicbloom
  • CD Title: Live In Concert
  • Genre: Jazz DVD / Video
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Telarc
  • Musicians: Hiromi Uehara (keyboards), Tony Grey (bass), Martin Valihora (drums), David Fiuczynski (guitar)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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