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Hiromi's Sonicbloom — Time Control
(Telarc CD-83655, 2007, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2008-01-01

Time Control Cover artJapanese jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara's previous releases have all borne the name "Hiromi" and basically consisted of her standing trio with bassist Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora. Guitarist David Fiuczynski was a guest on her first album, and he's here now as a full member, hence the new name. While I love her previous albums, this one really grabs me, from the quick tinkling intro of "Time Difference" to the dizzying stylistic shifts of "Real Clock vs. Body Clock = Jet Lag" to the last moody melodies of "Note from the Past." That pitter-patter raindrop intro is followed by a killer riff in alternating 7/4 and 6/4 with some superb unison melodies on piano and guitar. The first solo spotlight has Hiromi tossing off one of her eccentric synth flights, and Fiuczynski joins in with some of his own eccentricity. This is fusion at its best, folks, with all cylinders firing in perfect sync, loaded with energy and imagination. It's refreshingly free of clichés, and while the technical level is stunning, it never seems like mere exercise. With the second track, an electric piano joins Hiromi's palette (though the acoustic piano still dominates), and there's a funky soulful vibe; the guitar gets a wah-wah treatment, and much fun is had by all. Things slow down a bit for "Deep into the Night," though it's a far cry from smooth jazz; the guitar reminds me of Phil Miller. I could go on and on — it's terrific all the way through.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Hiromi Uehara, David Fiuczynski

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Let Tijuana Hercules Tell You "The Way It Is"

John Forbes has this to say about the track:

I'm predisposed to the unprepared and the greazy, but every now and then I need to leave the house. Yet, this is a constrictive moment in history: A modern nervous sweat through a 17th-century frontier prism.
The majority of the track was recorded at my Frogg Mountain Studio in Chicago. The percussion resulted from people stomping on metal plates in a four-story-tall freight elevator shaft which served as a wild echo chamber.
I sent the track to a rhythm section I know in Marquette, Michigan, because there's a 5/4-vibe there that's all its own. (I suspect the isolation and natural brutality that is the root of the unique human nature there.) Despite being cut off from civilization at large by sheer geography, Marquette maintains more top-notch drummers and astute musicologists than anywhere I know. A true yaba yum.

Forbes also created this art to visualize all the musicians who contributed to the track:

The Way It Is, artwork by John V Forbes



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