Hiromi Uehara was born in Hamamatsu, Japan in 1979 and is a Jazz composer and pianist. She is known for her technique, energetic live performance and blend of musical genres such as progressive rock, classical and fusion.
Hiromi began learning classical piano at the age of six and was later introduced to Jazz by her teacher Noriko Hikida. She was only 14 years old when she played with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and at 17 she met Chick Corea who we featured a few weeks ago, and she was invited to play at his concert in Tokyo.
She spent several years as an advertising jingle writer for major companies such as Nissan and then enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She was mentored by Ahmad Jamal jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator, and she was signed with the Telarc label before graduation.
Since 2003, Hiromi has toured the world and appeared at many jazz festivals including the Newport Jazz Festival in 2009 and the Paris Olympia in 2010.
Her most recent tour in 2015 featured bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Philips and her 2016 album Spark reached #1 on the US Billboard Jazz albums chart. There is a link to her 2019 tour dates at the end of the post.
“I don’t want to put a name on my music. Other people can put a name on what I do. It’s just the union of what I’ve been listening to and what I’ve been learning. It has some elements of classical music, it has some rock, it has some jazz, but I don’t want to give it a name.”
Time to listen to some of the music from this talented performer.
“Spiral”, somewhat classical, somewhat jazz fusion, is the title of Hiromi Uehara’s third album featuring her trio with Tony Grey on bass and Martin Valihora on drums. The trio merges jazz improvisation with rock, and a blues thread runs basically through every piece. Her suite-like compositions have shifting moods that drive with intensity one moment and relax quietly the next, and spotlights her formidable technique and impressive compositional skills. The end result is a strong musical statement that brings new and exciting forces into her mainstream jazz program.
“Place To Be” recorded in 2009, is Hiromi’s post-bop, unaccompanied solo-piano album, on the Telarc Jazz Japanese label. This format gave her plenty of room to explore her creative impulses. Her performance is playful at times and sometimes it’s exuberant. Some may even say that she was self-indulgent, but if so, certainly not in a bad way. She incorporates in her style elements from classical music and ragtime, confirming her audacious self assurance and technical prowess. She composed all of the tracks on the album except “Berne, Baby, Berne”, and “Pachelbel’s Canon”.
“Voice” is Hiromi’s seventh studio album, released in 2011 by Telarc Records. This rock influenced album is another post-bop effort by Hiromi. Her improvisation throughout the album comes from varied sources, creating a fusion of many different styles. Her solos come across as an impromptu conversation as she guides us along with technical proficiency but never compromising the emotion that shapes the foundation of the album. She is accompanied by Anthony Jackson on electric bass and Simon Phillips on drums. All of the tracks from the album were composed by Hiromi except “Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #8 – Pathétique”. Hiromi explains why she called this album “Voice”.
“I called this album Voice because I believe that people’s real voices are expressed in their emotions. It’s not something that you really say. It’s more something that you have in your heart. Maybe it’s something you haven’t said yet. Maybe you’re never going to say it. But it’s your true voice. Instrumental music is very similar. We don’t have any words or any lyrics to go with it. It’s the true voice that we don’t really put into words, but we feel it when it’s real.”
“Spark” was recorded in October 2015, featuring bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips and was Hiromi’s fourth studio album. Hiromi continues to converse with her musicians in constantly evolving themes that cover everything from post-bop to rock, funk, and soulful jazz. Hiromi fancies playing in a bluesy-tinged style with hints of boogie-woogie and this lightens the group’s fundamental jagged jazz fusion. This album is sophisticated, spontaneous, and experimental. Hiromi is known for taking traditional art forms and transforming them into her own emotional style and this album highlights that. Her trio is as confident as it is relaxed, changing rhythms and tempos with ease, passion, and feeling. “Spark” reached the #1 position on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart in April, 2016.
Buy music by Hiromi : https://www.amazon.com/Hiromi/e/B000ARBHSW
William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.
His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.
While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.
His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.
In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.
William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION – https://williampriceking.tumblr.com
Buy William’s music ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484
Connect with William
You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/
As always we would love to receive your feedback.. thanks Sally and William