Hiromi Uehara has been stunning audiences with her impeccable musicianship for years. She may look quiet and demure, however, she is as fierce as it gets. I believe that she is the best kind of musician; gifted with extreme heart, discipline, insane technical ability, fearlessness, innate artistry and the desire to connect with others. I had the pleasure of catching her set at the Vancouver International Jazz Fest in 2014 with Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips and was left completely speechless, everyone was. I’m not afraid to say that I cried. It was moving, wild, free music making at its best and she gave so much of herself. Many people left the concert feeling notably transformed. How often does that happen?
Hiromi was born in Japan, grew up studying classical and then eventually jazz piano. She wrote jingles for big Japanese companies, played piano with symphony orchestras and Chick Corea, and then made her way to Berklee to study arranging and composition. She hasn’t looked back since.
This week’s Sunday Slow Jam features Hiromi on an original tune called “Place To Be” from her sixth studio album of the same name. There are so many wonderful moments in this piece her execution alone will wow you. Also, be forewarned you will want to press rewind to hear her play certain passages again…more than a few times. This version is full of joy and true unfiltered expression (you can literally see it on her face) and there are so many tasty musical moments, which she plays so perfectly. I won’t even try and describe them, just listen.