Saturday, March 20, 2010

Simply Astonishing

That’s just about the only way to describe the piano playing of Hiromi. I had the good fortune to see her play last night and her performance was nothing short of breathtaking. She played mostly original compositions, and thoroughly charmed the audience. Her playing ranged to blazing, powerful runs similar to McCoy Tyner to soft delicate passages that are totally her own style. On stage she’s bursting with enthusiasm and smiles the entire time she’s playing. At times, she gets so into the music she stands up and continues playing.

And her technique is so remarkable, the audience burst into applause mid-song, several times. They also didn’t wait to the end to give her a standing ovation—they rose to their feet after almost every song. Her approach to playing is at times irreverent—at one point she placed something metallic on the strings to make the piano sound like a harpsichord while she riffed on Pachelbel's Canon. While playing a bluesy tune, she reached into the piano board and plucked to lower strings and did a long bass run. I kept trying to compare her to other pianists, but in the end, I just have to say, she sounds like Haromi.

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