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Hiromi - Brain

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Bernie Connors, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. Hey all,

    Just thought I'd let ya know about her newest album. Amazing musicianship by all involved. The low end is held down by Tony Grey and none other than Anthony Jackson on three songs. Check out Tony at his site: www.tonygrey.com He's quite a player and makes his Fodera sing!

    Anthony's playing is amazing as usual. Volume swells and his incredible phrasing is prominent throughout the three songs he appears on.

    If you dig piano jazz, you won't be disappointed.
  2. Hi Bernie

    Well as a fellow AJ-ophile I'll have to grab a copy !!
    Thanks for the heads up.


  3. Hey Nick,

    It's a good cd. Only one track on there I don't get into too much. Only because it's a little "too far off the beaten path" for me. ;) But Hiromi is an immensely talented pianist and I'm sure you'll enjoy her music. Desert on the Moon is probably my favorite track. You can actually see a clip of the trio (inluding AJ!) playing it on her site. It's www.hiromimusic.com I believe.

    I'm also going to pick up her first recording, Another Mind, which AJ also guests on three tracks.
  4. I heard Hiromi being interviewed on one of the local college stations here in the North East (WERS) - I'd tuned in halfway through a piece, and thought I was listening to Oscar Peterson - his influence is quite unmistakable in her playing. Hiromi's technique is incredible, but I wasn't all that impressed by her original compositions - they sound as they might be fun to play, but from the point of view of the audience, I thought her music to be rather "spikey" - not smooth and finished, but intense, containing lots of notes (not unlike O.P.) and frenetic. I bought her first CD but have only played it a couple of times. Her playing attracts me, but her music doesn't. Perhaps I should give it another try…

    - Wil
  5. Hey Wil. Thanks for the insight.

    I would agree that her music is not traditional. Many reviews of her music have stated that she likes to use electronics and synths sometimes and things you just wouldn't normally associate with that type of jazz.

    I think we probably have to look at it from a different angle. She's a young upstart that has already enjoyed a large amount of success in her short professional career. I think Hiromi's trying to make her own voice in the music. I guess that's not a bad thing, although I do enjoy the more traiditional piano jazz compared to some of the stuff she displays on her recordings.

    I think that's always a risk that someone has to take when wanting to get out and do something different. You can stick with what you know audiences have loved for years or you can try something different and hope it finds a niche. I have no doubts that she has found a fan-base that will take her music and really enjoy it. Like you said, she is incredibly talented.

    If I had to pick to listed to Hiromi versus Michel Camilo or Michel Petrucciani, I would pick the latter. But they all have a different take on a theme and that's what makes it fun.

    In the end, I'm just an AJ freak and I had to buy it! I'm sure some of you can relate. :p
  6. Absolutely, your points are well taken! I think the trick is to win over the audience, and if you already have made a name for yourself, then it's easier to gradually wean your audience over to your own compositions, however far-out they (your compositions) may be. It's very difficult to for an unknown composer/performer to get people to listen to and ultimately buy albums containing all original compositions. One way might be to start off with the standards, and when you've established credibility with the audience, then you lead them to the music you think they might like to hear. Of course there are many obstacles in the way - marketing/recording-companies/$$$$$$

    I was somewhat surprised to find so many originals on a first recording (I've just checked the CD - ALL of the songs were written by Hiromi). That might indicate great confidence in her own music, but it might also indicate what might be described as arrogance… "…what do you mean! Of course they will like my compositions!!! Here's a whole CD full of them!"

    As I said before, start of with the ones they know, blow them away with those, and then start giving them the ones you want them to hear!

    Just a thought… :)

    - Wil

    PS: I agree with you re. Michel Petrucciani, and as you correctly point out, that's what makes it so much fun!
  7. Hey Will,

    I agree with you on both points.

    I think it would be a wise idea for her to do some standards. Take the songs that everyone know and love and combine them with her incredible technique and she would probably win over more fans. She no doubt has the talent to perform those classics perfectly. I would like to see her do that.

    About writing all of her own material, some would call that arrogance, to others it would be confidence. I guess it depends on which angle you're looking from. I'm sure she's quite comfortable with her level of talent and technique. She might feel that qualifies her to make the call and be able to write all of her own stuff. It is unusual today to find somebody that does write all the material on their debut recording. Maybe that's why she's received alot of critical acclaim. She does her own thing and doesn't follow a whole lot of "industry standards." As long as she is writing good music, I'll be happy. But it hinges on that for me. If her stuff gets too eclectic down the line, I would want her to bring in somebody to write because I think she's too good of a talent to be not used to her full potential.

    She caters to lots of musical tastes with her music. On Brain, there are alot of different types of music. On her solo, she shows some of her classical side, others are funky, and others still are classic jazz type songs. So I think she can perform all of those genres of music well enough, she just doesn't seem willing to cater to just one of them.
  8. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Yes! this is a very groovy album, I find I really like something in every track. I think I over-listened to it though, I need to give it a break.

    the groove on if... is phenomenal
  9. sjoakes


    Nov 25, 2002
    saint paul, mn
    I caught Hiromi on tour after Another Mind came out -I thought it was an excellent show! It's nice to see/hear some piano jazz with that kind of energy and humor. She is definitely not someone who takes herself too seriously.

    Another Mind is one of my favorite albums of the last couple years. The grooves are excellent, both with AJ and a guy named Mitch Cohen (different than her current bass player on "Brain"). I've listened to "Brain" a bit and "Another Mind" is still my favorite -more grooves and not-so-much "out there". That's my opinion as a moderate level jazz listener...

    You can download a few free tracks from each CD here:
    http://www.hiromimusic.com/downloads.htm http://www.hiromimusic.com/downloads.htm

    If you get a chance to see her live, I strongly recommend it.
  10. That's for sure! If is an amazing song. Desert on the Moon is awe-inspiring as well.
  11. I'll definitely check out Another Mind if that's the case. Thanks!

    The only song on Brain that's too out there for me is Keytalk. Some may like it but for me, it's just too weird.
  12. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The vid clip of "Desert" sounds like Corea to me. With Weckl. That drummer's not too shabby.
  13. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I felt the same way for a while on that one, but it's started to grow on me.
  14. OK, cool. I'll give it some more listening time than.
  15. Hey Bernie

    Once again thanks for the heads up on this album.
    I managed to get a copy at a very reasonable price from Ebay. All in all a very cool album. The track WR liked so much (If) is awesome.

    Thanks again.

  16. No problem, Nick! Glad you are enjoying it. :)
  17. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    I have to write in here and express that I disagree wholeheartedly. Hiromi is a true artist with a great deal of talent. I have a recording of her playing on another Berklee students recital and she is the most beautiful player on it. She can play anything. What she chooses to do is play the music from her heart and I respect that a great deal. As for playing for the audience, if everyone did that than there wouldn't be any great art. I too am not really into her original music but I love that she's doing it her way. Trust me, there's no arrogance involved. I've heard from many a person that she's a sweetheart. Also, I wouldn't worry about people hearing her because she's chosen to do her original music. All she does is tour so people hear what she has to say. She's doing just fine I can assure you. The last thing we need is someone else playing standards. How many years are we going to do that? Standards are for learning jazz, their a tool and that's it. They're beautiful songs that were created 60 years ago or so. Someone like Hiromi has played so many standards so many times that she certainly doesn't need to prove anything there. It was a tool for learning for her. Jazz is an art form that should always grow. I believe that's what jazz is. We need people like Wynton Marsalis to remind us of the great music of our past but really equally need people like Hiromi to show us the future of the greatest American art form that is jazz.

    :steps off of soap box:
  18. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    This album rocks. Tony Grey is a monster.
  19. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    Tony's a really nice guy as well. I'm lucky enough to be close to where these people live. I got to see Tony play with Dave Fuszinski (sp?). He did a great job. For what it's worth, Tony just happens to be John Mclaughlin's nephew as well. That certainly doesn't change the fact that Tony's great on his own though.
  20. Daniel L.

    Daniel L. Guest

    Aug 30, 2002


    So true!