Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Hiromi's Sonicbloom Live in Concert recorded in December 2007 at the Toky International Forum Hall and winner of the 2008 Jazz Video Award in Swing Journal Magazine features the same rhythm section of Grey and Valihora, but also includes the unique sound of guitarist David Fuze Fiuczynski. All four musicians played together as Hiromi's Sonicbloom on the pianist's two most recent studio recordings, Time Control (2007) and Beyond Standard (2008), prompting JazzTimes to call them a quartet of fusionistas in Deep Purple mode. Armed with a double necked guitar (one neck fretted and the other fretless), Fiuczynski whose credits include work with John Medeski, John Zorn, and his own Screaming Headless Torsos quartet brings to the party an edgy, pyrotechnic counterpoint to Hiromi's daring andhighly expressive piano work.
Personnel: David Fiuczynski (guitar, fretless guitar); Hiromi (piano, keyboards); Martin Valihora (drums).
Some jazz artists, regrettably, will never provide either a live CD or a live DVD. But acoustic pianist/electric keyboardist Hiromi isn't one of them. The Japanese improviser recorded a live CD, Brain, for Telarc in 2003 -- and in June 2009, Telarc simultaneously put out her live DVDs Live in Concert and Hiromi's Sonicbloom Live in Concert. While Live in Concert documents a trio performance, Hiromi's Sonicbloom Live in Concert expands that trio into a quartet with the addition of guitarist David Fiuczynski; the lineup is Hiromi on acoustic piano and electric keyboards, Fiuczynski on electric guitar, Tony Grey on electric bass, and Martin Valihora on drums. The inspired performances on this DVD (which focuses on a late 2000s appearance at the Tokyo International Forum Hall in Japan) are mostly fusion, although parts of Hiromi's Sonicbloom Live in Concert detour a bit into post-bop territory (whereas Live in Concert is more post-bop than fusion). But whether a particular tune is more fusion or more post-bop, Hiromi's performances are consistently engaging. One only has to take a look at her facial expressions in order to see how much fun she is having leading this quartet. Hiromi's facial expressions often project a girlish sort of playfulness; she looks like she is genuinely delighted to be playing this melodic yet complex jazz. And given all the things there were to be depressed about in the late 2000s -- terrorism, a looming economic crisis on Wall Street, a horrifyingly bloody drug war in Mexico, a wretched U.S. health care system that was leaving thousands of Americans sick, broke, bankrupt, or dead -- it's nice to see Hiromi looking like she is getting a lot of enjoyment and pleasure out of life and sharing her enjoyment with folks in the audience. Hiromi's Sonicbloom Live in Concert isn't as essential as some of her studio recordings, but it's still a rewarding illustration of the amount of vitality and enthusiasm that Hiromi can bring to the stage. ~ Alex Henderson
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