When the NPR Piano Jazz Christmas came to the Attucks Theatre in Norfolk in December, 2004, youthful pianist/composer Hiromi Uehara ignited what were otherwise fairly sedate proceedings with her musical instincts, rock star looks and physical approach to performance. With this, her third album, she pushes the boundaries of piano trio jazz into unexplored territory, creating a vibrant blend of jazz, classical, pop and rock that is beautiful, expressive, punchy, melodic, rhythmically variegated, fiery and fresh. At the ripe young age of 26, she already has her own idea of what the future of jazz should look like, and it's an alluring vision. The centerpiece of this all-original outing is the four-part "Music for Three-Piece-Orchestra," a rich suite encompassing quiet classicism, gentle lyricism, controlled furor and Emerson, Lake & Palmer prog-rock. The closing "Return of King-Fu World Champion" takes the ELP connection one step further with Tarkus-like synth and clavinet. The bonus DVD provides a brief sample of Hiromi's exciting live presence. --Jim Newsom
Originally published in Port Folio Weekly - February 28, 2006
Copyright 2006 Port Folio Weekly. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.