Hiromi
Voice


4.5
superb

Review

by Robinanimate USER (7 Reviews)
June 8th, 2021 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hiromi's "Voice" communicates the joy that music brings to life.

Hiromi might fall between two stools, or rather transcend between genres to the plane where guitar gods, drum deities and super-singers reside. She doesn’t just play the piano, she shares her joy, her passion and her soul with the world, and her voice transcends both genres and time.

Hiromi hails from Japan, where she has been making a name for herself in the jazz community since the early 2000s. She is no average jazz pianist, though, she is a piano adventurer who blends influences from classical music, prog rock, fusion, post-bop and stride. All these voices become one when she plays. It might not speak to all of her peers, but that doesn’t make her performance any less hypnotizing.

“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.”
Hiromi – Concord Jazz Artist Page

Having played the piano since 6, performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at 14, worked as a jingle writer in the Japanese advertisement industry, and studied at Berkeley College of Music, Hiromi developed an original voice of her own. Granted, it sounds like a million voices, or perhaps a schizophrenic conference of voices when her fingers are let loose on the piano. Still, she never fails to connect with her audience.

From the standpoint of a jazz novice, jazz songs often appear incoherent or overwhelming, but Hiromi’s voice always shine through, especially on this album. Each track has a voice of its own which is easy recognizable and equally memorable. Between the opening title track, with its whimsical storytelling qualities, and the laidback closing cover version of Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No.8”, there are no fillers.

The playful “Now or Never” is a highlight, though. Anyone who has ever seen a live video clip of Hiromi will know what I talk about when I say that this song has Hiromi’s smile all over it. Few contemporary jazz pianists bring such joy to the stage, and “Now or Never” reflects the spirit of Hiromi and her companions perfectly.

Before “Voice”, she had already made seven albums on her own. This was the first time she brought with her Anthony Jackson on bass and Simon Philips on drums. They called it “The Trio Project”. Evidently, they enjoyed each other’s company so much that it turned into three more albums thereafter.

The performance on “Voice” is magnetic. It sounds like the trio have been playing together for a lifetime. It is tight, yet not constrictive, free flowing, yet composed with attention to detail. In fact, give the album a decade, and you will probably still have some details left to discover and some voices left to figure out.

“I really don’t have barriers to any type of music. I could listen to everything from metal to classical music to anything else.”
Hiromi – Concord Jazz Artist Page

Compared to Hiromi’s other albums, “Voice” stands out as career-defining moment. By then she had listened to her teacher’s voices, explored her own voice, taken influence from other’s voices, and finally brought in a couple of extra “voices” to complete her sound. By now, she was a confident pianist who leaned back, enjoyed the process, and I daresay created her best album to date (perhaps with the exception of “Time Control”).

Hiromi did more than put a voice to her heartfelt emotions with this album. “Voice” transcends genres, it transcends technical prowess, and speaks to anyone who ever felt the excitement of music shake our very core. Just like Hiromi smiles with all her being when performing these songs, so does “Voice” communicate the joy that music brings to life.



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user ratings (35)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
CaptainDooRight (4)
An underrated album and an overlooked artist on Sputnik who creates rivaled progressive jazz/classic...



Comments:Add a Comment 
MrSirLordGentleman
June 8th 2021


14057 Comments


Awesome. Hiromi rules

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
June 8th 2021


9983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Always love seeing more Hiromi on the front page

MrSirLordGentleman
June 8th 2021


14057 Comments


It surprises me that she isn't more popular here tbh

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
June 8th 2021


9983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

She was pretty popular on here for a while, especially with KILL talking about her a lot when he was still on the site. But yeah, she hasn't been talked about much since. I was thinking of doing a discog review of her (since I already reviewed her Alive album), but I'm not sure I'm ready for that commitment yet, lol

MrSirLordGentleman
June 8th 2021


14057 Comments


KILL :[

well, her discography is certainly consistent, so it is a pretty good pick for a discog review

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
June 8th 2021


9983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely. Just gotta finish that Steely Dan discog then I'm all set!

Robinanimate
June 8th 2021


13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I would love to read a Hiromi discog review as well. I like all her stuff for sure, but this one has a special place in my heart. That's why I felt the need to dish out some love, by writing this review. I mean, it's a rare thing for me to fall so hard for an album like this, since I am a metalhead through and through, haha. Any constructive criticism is welcomed, by the way. I am a little apprehensive about writing reviews in here, since English is not my native tongue.

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
June 8th 2021


9983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This one absolutely rules for sure. Flashback is one of my favorite songs she's ever done



And honestly, I can see why metalheads (myself included) would enjoy her work. She and Tigran Hamasyan have a lot of music that has a jazz base but whose compositions resemble progressive rock/metal elements. It's almost like a less distorted version of what bands like Animals as Leaders and Scale the Summit are doing... although better than both imo

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
June 8th 2021


9983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Also, the review is fine, although I'd recommend not including other critics' reviews unless you absolutely need to. As well as combining some of your paragraphs to make the writeup a bit less fragmented. I do like how you go into Hiromi's history though; also:



"Hiromi developed an original voice of her own. Granted, it sounds like a million voices, or perhaps a schizophrenic conference of voices when her fingers are let loose on the piano."



That's honestly a great way to express how wild and free-spirited her style often sounds

Robinanimate
June 8th 2021


13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Agreed, Flashback is definitely an awesome track. That would have been my next song to mention. I am familiar with Animal as Leaders, but perhaps I should look into Scale the Summit. Thanks for the tip.



Also, thanks for the feedback. Happy that you liked my description of her "free-spirited style". I will look into the structure of the review, and maybe pull together a paragraph or two.

DavidYowi
June 8th 2021


913 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Anthony Jackson’s on this? Sold

DavidYowi
June 8th 2021


913 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I can totally see Now or Never appearing on the sondtrack to Peggle

DavidYowi
June 8th 2021


913 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fuck it it’s a 5. This is everything I could want in a jazz record

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2021


9983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@DavidYowi: Definitely check out her other stuff too. Alive is my personal favorite, although you really can't go wrong with any of her albums imo

Minushuman24
June 10th 2021


4762 Comments


Incredibly underappreciated album



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