Even by modern-day standards, jazz piano trios are not customarily designed with sheer firepower and a gargantuan rhythmic presence. On this album set for USA release in June 2011, Japanese pianist Hiromi fuses her energized musical persona with revered artists, bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips.
Hiromi's astounding technical acumen, flashy persona and commanding leadership skills are supplemented by a powerful support structure that accelerates the rapidly moving parts. More important is that many of the leader's compositions provide memorable hooks and a dazzling array of pulsating metrics. However, it's not about bombast and wanton soloing as the trio's modish presentation alludes to a certain hip-ness, especially when integrated into funk, jazz-rock, and cascading dynamics.
Hiromi delves into classical formats via her comprehensive line of attack, evidenced on Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No.8, Pathetique" and within choice spots throughout the album. Simon Phillips' rock-tuned drum kit adds a formidable presence along with Jackson's intricately articulated bass lines. Essentially, these pieces are executed with one climactic event after another amid a few temperate passages and precision-oriented unison runs.
"Now or Never" is a composition that bustles with a straight-four motif, accentuated by Phillips' punchy and resonating beats. On this piece, Hiromi's potent block chords, knotty-phrasings and jazzy single note leads, aggregate a hybrid Professor Longhair-Ray Charles-Bill Evans vibe, countered by some lighthearted synth interludes. Nonetheless, "Voice" marks a significant entry into the pianist's budding discography. Hiromi's solid compositions and clever arrangements yield the bountiful fruit.