Hiromi Uehara is one of the most solitary and unique pianist voices to have come along in modern times. Seeing her live is not just watching a concert, it’s an all engrossing, compelling experience. The images that her music conjures in your mind when listening is arguably more potent than most vocal driven pop music. Her latest album, SPARK is presented in her ‘trio’ format- meaning that it is accompanied by bass and drums (by Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips)- and is considerably one of the most amazing pieces I have heard by her and deserves a review.

The opening track (the title track “Spark“) is utterly mesmerizing and spine tingling. From it’s solo piano introduction to its ultimate climax, the journey it takes you on is a breathtaking exercise in control and composition. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve heard in the last few years and while only a trio of players- feels more huge than an entire orchestra. It’s followed by the equally impressive “In a Trance” that has some of the most complex time signature changes I’ve ever heard. The technical mastery here is more than impressive, it will leave your mouth agape. From there, it’s a twisting, turning and utterly addictive collection of some of the most amazing jazz tunes you will come across anywhere. My other track picks are “Indulgence” (from around the 6 minute mark- IM IN HEAVEN!), the delightful “What Will Be, Will Be“, the overwhelmingly beautiful sole piano composition “Wake Up and Dream” and the finale “All’s Well“.

Throughout this journey, Hiromi has the reins. It’s HER vehicle and her accompanists hold everything together regardless of what direction she takes it in. She is a master in her field and has the piano chops that most people can only dream of. The melodies just pour out of her and it’s best just to shut up and listen. It’s an album that took me by surprise- because not only is this one of the better Hiromi Uehara records- it’s one of the better jazz records I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The bass playing, incredible drums and of course FACE MELTING piano work by Hiromi all add up to something more than delectable- it’s a must hear.

9/10 Hiromi Uehara’s latest is a must have for fans, and a great intro for newbies to her work.

Available now in Japan, set for an April release worldwide.


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