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Hiromi Uehara - The Trio Project: Spark CD (album) cover

THE TRIO PROJECT: SPARK

Hiromi Uehara

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.01 | 74 ratings

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Walkscore
4 stars Hiromi's music and musicianship is always of very high quality, and all her albums are worth picking up. This is Hiromi's latest, and like the previous three albums, features her 'Trio Project' with Anthony Jackson on bass and Simon Phillips on drums (Hiromi plays the piano and occasionally a synth). By now, her Trio Project albums all reveal a kind of formula, with the more difficult and progressive-rock oriented songs more concentrated nearer the beginning, coupled with a few quieter pieces, blues, and shuffles which are usually found in the latter half of the album (and usually one song features a humourous-sounding synth-lead). This album is no different in that respect (although it seems some of these tunes are their most-ever difficult to play - the display of virtuosity is clear). I myself prefer either her progressive-tinged pieces, or her quieter evocative pieces/solos, which I find to be more musical than her blues and shuffles (which is not to say that I don't like the latter styles, just that her forte is the former). This album I find to be a bit less musical overall than her other Trio Project albums (my favourite is 'Move'), as well as her more musical albums before the Trio Project (my favourite is 'Brain', but 'Spiral' is also great). This one seems a bit more formulaic than previous albums, and while there are some great tunes (eg "Dilemma", "Wake Up and Dream" and the title track), none of the songs quite reach the heights of 'Brain', 'Voice' or 'Move', or even her previous album 'Alive'. Saying this, the music is still very high quality, and if you like great drumming, you will be particularly pleased with this album. While I find the piano could be higher up in the mix on a number of the tunes, Phillips drums are right up front, the pieces are quite difficult to play and Phillips drumming is mesmerizing it is so good (just like Hiromi's playing in that respect). Phillips also gets in some great solos on this album, and even though I find the shuffles less musical, on this album you can't help but marvel at Phillip's amazing drumming on the key one ("What will be will be"). Like the other Trio Project albums, Jackson's work is also very solid, although he is not in the spotlight much (with very few solos). On balance, an excellent album although not quite as good as the first two Trio Project albums ('Voice', 'Move'), or her two best albums before the Trio Project ('Brain', 'Spiral'). I give this album 8.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.
Walkscore | 4/5 |

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