Let me say up front that I don’t care for solo piano. A song, yes. An album, no. Call it a limited attention span. More like it’s a desire to hear a band: drums, bass, sax or trumpet, and maybe a rhythm guitar in lieu of piano.
But take a master like Bob James or Chick Corea, and the format can be quite engaging. Like those two, Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara defies my general attitude about this. Place to Be is her first solo piano release. To no surprise, it has as much vigor as her other releases.
The Telarc release is a musical documentary of Hiromi’s travels. Its title is an acknowledgment to fans, whose presence at her performance venues give her a place to be.
Hiromi debuted with Another Mind (Telarc, 2003). Since then, she’s earned several major awards, and has performed with such heavyweights as Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Her Sonicbloom group includes guitarist Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, bassist Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora. With Sonicbloom, she plays electronic keyboard.