VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
08 JUN 11 JONATHAN WIDRAN
Earlier this year, the brilliant and trailblazing Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi showed everyone who couldn't be there in person the magic of her solo artistry with her third DVD Solo Live At Blue Note New York. On Voice, her latest, very intimate and emotional collection from Telarc, she realizes the value of an explosive rhythm section.
Her new trio mates are well versed in jazz and pop/rock -- Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, The O'Jays, Steely Dan, Chick Corea) and drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, David Gilmour and Jack Bruce). Jackson's not entirely new to the Hiromi fold. He guested on her early albums Another Mind (2003) and Brain (2004). Phillips came highly recommended by Jackson and Stanley Clarke, whom Hiromi has performed and recorded with extensively, especially as part of The Stanley Clarke Band in 2010.
Because instrumental music is so emotionally subjective, sometimes specific connections are best left up to the listener. But in the packaging, Hiromi does her best (via short phrases) to offer simple clues about which emotions she's aiming for with each expansive tune ranging from the rumbling, high energy hypnosis of the nearly ten minute opening title track to a graceful take on "Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8, Pathetique."
The first track is about "overflowing emotions" and "the true voice of one's heart." "Flashback" is about recollections of memory fragments, while the booming, bright jam "Labyrinth" shows us just how deep and complex the emotional minefields of life can be. The Beethoven piece is offered as a way out of the puzzle, where "music purifies every emotion and makes them positive."