Album Reviews

Hiromi

Spark

Artist:     Hiromi

Album:     Spark

Label:     Telarc/Concorde Music Group

Release Date:     04/01/2016

90

Since her epic 2003 debut Another Mind, I have envisioned pianist/composer Hiromi approaching composition like one of the Flying Wallendas: No net. No problem. Spark adds brilliantly to that imagining.

Mentored by both Ahmad Jamal and Chick Corera, Hiromi’s blazing music and compositional feats of daring-do ignites an emotional response that she, and her daredevil co-conspirators, contra-bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, fuse into larger wildfires. And whatever your response is, you never find yourself not marveling at how the hell she gets from point A to point B. It’s a joyful, exuberant, exhilarating ride.

Spark is another tour-de-force in a string of triumphs as each player interprets their place in the sprawling Hiromi blueprint. The title track enters dreamily, morphing into an imaginative groove, leading to the fiery, propulsive “In a Trance.” “Take Me Away” virtually does, shifting intuitively and assuredly through time and genre. “Wonderland” owes generously to the flair and free-floating experience of Phillips, whose patterns journey through hip and tribal. Speaking of hip, “Indulgence” is a jagged blues ala Steely Dan. “Dilemma” bristles with inexhaustible energy, as all three players jam like the devil is hot on their tails.

I could go on but we’d be missing the point. The Trio Project, as these recordings with Jackson and Phillips have been dubbed since 2010, is beyond doubt, like their leader, an unparalleled musical force.

– Mike Jurkovic

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