Hiromi Brings Jazz Into A New Age In Montreux

Hiromi Montreux Jazz FestivalLooking like she’s ready for a prom despite her 35 years, Hiromi, the gifted classical and jazz pianist who has honed her talent in Japan and the US, projected humility and youth as slipped delicately on stage. Once seated at the piano, this artist took over the club with authority and force. Many other jazz pianists hit hard through their instrument, but more than other contemporary jazz musicians, Hiromi paints visual images with her music, like a modern jazz Debussy.

This slip of a girl has a gift for lightning fast, delicate fingerings which turn on a dime to blow your head off. Her phrasings can be improbably related, yet they work–like a slender fuse connects perfectly with a stick of dynamite. I have no idea how her music would be notated, but I guarantee the page would be very dark.

“Alive,” the title track from her new album, comes on with a crash as powerful as an avalanche, thanks to drummer Samuel Phillips, whose solo set the tone. A pause, then Hiromi’s piano strikes, the sun forcefully breaking through the storm clouds. Her bassist, Anthony Jackson, creates a perfect backdrop. Jackson can make  an acoustic bass guitar sound like a guitar, contrabass or cello. All smiles, he knows he’s part of something special here, something truly alive.

That’s Hiromi, and she is the face of the new classical music.

– Suzanne Cadgène

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