Release date April, 2016
In June of that same year, Hiromi simultaneously released two concert DVDs, both recorded in Tokyo: Hiromi Live in Concert (recorded in December 2005) and Hiromi’s Sonicbloom Live in Concert (recorded in December 2007). The former features the rhythm section of Grey and Valihora, while the latter includes Fiuczynski’s incendiary fretwork.
She followed up Place to Be with a DVD, Hiromi Solo Live at Blue Note New York. Recorded on August 20 and 21, 2010, at the Blue Note in New York City, the video includes 11 originals and a special bonus feature with interview clips and performance footage from some of Hiromi’s favorite cities around the world.
On her 2011 album, Voice, Hiromi’s goal was to capture people’s “inner voices” to create what she called a “three-dimensional sound.” On that album, she assembled a trio that included herself and two veteran players: contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips. While Hiromi had played with Jackson prior to recording Voice, she had never recorded an entire album with either him or Phillips, the latter who had been recommended to her by legendary bassist Stanley Clarke, a mutual acquaintance.
Also in 2011, The Stanley Clarke Band CD, featuring Hiromi, won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
While on the road, Hiromi started writing music for the follow-up CD, Move, released in 2013. “Because I had been playing with Anthony and Simon for quite a bit, I just started to understand their characteristics, and I could find a hidden gem in their playing,” she explains. “There’s so much more to their playing. As a composer, I really wanted to write the songs especially for them, and I wanted to extract the unique beauty of their playing.” Move, like Voice, had an overriding theme, which Hiromi describes as “time in one day.” “You wake up and go to work and then hang out,” she says. “The album is like a soundtrack for a day.” That same year, she had several impressive placements in DownBeat magazine’s 61st Annual International Critics Poll, in the Jazz Artist, Piano, Keyboard and Rising Star: Piano categories. In 2013, she performed at George Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival and also performed there for the festival’s sixtieth anniversary in 2014.
Alive, released in 2014, heralded the return of The Trio Project, featuring Jackson and Phillips. DownBeat magazine proclaimed the terrific triad as “one of the most exciting groups working in any genre today.” On Alive, Phillips’ powerful, yet poetic percussion and Jackson’s flowing, glow-in-the-dark basslines beautifully buoy and support Hiromi’s ingenious and impassioned improvisations. Her evocative and expansive compositions evoke the myriad moods and mysteries of life and reveal the soulful, syncopated simpatico of her thrilling threesome.
Spark is the latest chapter in Hiromi’s ever-evolving musical life. “I’m hungry to learn,” she told DownBeat magazine, “so I’ll always keep my big ears open fully, ready to learn every single minute that I play.”
What others are saying:
"Spark draws its energy from the interaction of Hiromi's precision, clarity and speed with Phillips' detail-oriented drumming and Jackson's unique melodic facility for an exciting, well-put together statement."
"Hiromi is an omni-style fusion virtuoso who seems able to do everything possible at the keyboard and to prove it before her records are over. She can be a keyboard-gobbling virtuoso and then, a few bars later, a master of musical space like one of her best 'discoverers' and early mentors, Ahmad Jamal. Spark is abundant with exactly what its title promises…a fascinating player - always." ***1/2
"And for all that distinguishes Hiromi and her crew from the typical piano trio, she is possessed of abundant sense of elegant swing,"
"Spark showcases Hiromi's Trio Project with sweeping narrative and emotive content. The pianist finds her own spark in the interaction with her triomates of the last five years, beloved contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Chick Corea, The O'Jays) and legendary drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, David Gilmour, Judas Priest, Toto, Jack Bruce)."
"With Spark, Hiromi has not veered from her path of musical exploration, and the tunes have welcome twists that surprise even fans familiar with her previous works."
"With Spark, the trio again exemplifies why DownBeat magazine has called them "one of the most exciting groups working in any genre today," with the leader's effusive, heartfelt virtuosity supported by Jackson's vigorously fluid basslines and Phillips' ability to be simultaneously propulsive and witty behind the kit."
"Spark is Hiromi's tenth album as a leader. This recording proves that she is without a doubt one of the most original and exciting artists in any genre of music with a brilliant trio."
"Hiromi brings an incredible amount of energy to every show, whether she's playing a jazz festival, a rock club or a classical music hall. After touring the world, the pianist's Trio Project with contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips has become one of the most exciting groups working in any genre today."
"Even without the electric guitar of John McLaughlin, or the arsenal of synthesizers employed by Herbie Hancock, The Trio Project is a legitimate inheritor of the legacy left behind by Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Jaco Pastorius when Weather Report called it a day. That's heavy company, but Hiromi's Trio Project is one of the most consistently exciting and accomplished bands making music in any genre of music. Period. End of sentence."
All About Jazz
"Move is the soundtrack of a day, with each piece of music representing a different moment - from sunrise to sunset and the momentum, malaise, joy and quiet reflection that are all part of one day on earth. To round out the project, Hiromi teamed up with two of the music world's hardest-working session men, bass guitarist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips."
NPR Weekend Edition Sunday
"State-of-the-art playing meets state-of-the-art recording."
"...the longer you listen and learn about Hiromi's music, the more profound and coherent her muse appears-and she isn't about to compromise it. The arpeggios, tremolos and genre-melting proceed with a vengeance on Move, the second disc with her Trio Project.."
"...Move is yet more proof of Hiromi's lasting power and limitless potential."
"Recorded with an impeccable trio of Anthony Jackson on contrabass and noted drummer Simon Phillips, Move may be Hiromi's most accomplished work yet."
"Hiromi's mix of storyline and conceptual contemporary instrumentals is both fascinating and visionary. Highly recommended!"
Jazz Inside Magazine
"Hiromi's modern jazz music is outstanding, I absolutely love it. It's what I often want to listen to because it kicks my mood up a notch. Her songs combine many styles that include a mix of contemporary, jazz fusion, post-bop, and a little bit of classical music. Hiromi's latest release, Move, features contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson who played with Paul Simon and Chick Corea, and drummer Simon Phillips who performed with The Who, David Gilmour, and Jack Bruce."
Voice of America
"The music of pianist Hiromi defies easy categorization. Her breadth of play makes Move an album that requires some concentration, but if you give it that effort you will be satisfied at the results. Playing with drummer Simon Phillips and bassist Anthony Jackson, Hiromi would seem to be in a typical jazz trio. But the music that emerges in an eight-minute title track is more like a bit of serious concert music than a jazz trio offering."
"Hiromi describes Move as 'a soundtrack for a day,' a sequence of sonic representations of life from the sounding of the alarm clock ('Move') to day's end ("11:49 pm"), with various adventures and emotions in-between, from work ('Endeavor') to unexpected rain shower ('Rainmaker') to party ('Margarita!'), as well as 'Suite Escapism.' From dawn til dusk, the trio mixes fire and rain, motion and emotion, a rollercoaster ride we've come to expect from a pianist who can dazzle like Tatum and sing like Jarrett, often within the span of a few notes. And on Move, all notes belong to Hiromi."
"By splitting the difference between a post-bop trio and a muscular fusion trio, she found a spot that's ideally suited for not just her talents, but also those of her band. And Move goes a long way toward her further establishing her own identity."
"These new and original compositions are structured around a 'soundtrack for a day'... just twenty-four little hours, yet listening to Move there is an abundance of magnificent and emotive qualities in the experience. From the routine of daily life on to the dreams imagined and the flights of fancy in those unexpected moments, Hiromi has conjured up a loose yet concentrated passion in her playing for each of the nine selections. Move proves once more that Hiromi adds magic, creative ingenuity, and passion to a brilliant fusion of styles."
"Other than calling her a wildly, uninhibited player, pinning Hiromi down is no easy task. Recording a second album in a row with the same players, this is the closest she's come to having a band--even though she remains front and center, the vibes that comes from the interplay and trust push her to the new levels her believers always knew she was capable of...A winner throughout and quite likely the best entry in her canon yet."
"...one of the most versatile pianists on the scene today."