Hiromi Uehara, pianist who breaks musical barriers, performs in São Paulo

The universe of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas is truly marvelous and unique. In each, a new procedure compared to the past. For example, in the famous Sonate Patética, his opus 13: for the first time a sonata opens with an adagio introduction, serious, solemn, and suddenly explodes into “Allegro di molto e con brio”. Genius thing.

You can’t compare the Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara, 43, to Beethoven’s balcony. But this pianist who dazzled the North American musical world with her diabolical technique in her first albums with Telarc, at the start of the 21st century, continues to this day to follow an itinerary that loves surprise, improvisation and the unexpected. .

So, during one of her concerts in a trio with bass and drums, she began to play this “Grave” from the sonata Pathetic and, before anyone was surprised by the choice, Hiromi took the cantabile with which Beethoven amazes our 21st century ears for And he enchanted, at least in this 2019 presentation, taking the sonata to… the “é-pau-é-pedra” excerpt from Águas de Março. And from Jobim to Erroll Garner, and so on.

This should happen several times this Wednesday evening, the 8th, in his solo recital at Teatro Renault, in São Paulo. A trend that is radicalized as she records her albums – today there are 15, by Telarc, solo and in trio.

It is as a solo pianist that she imposes herself internationally. And also with notable partners in the field of jazz, such as the Stanley Clarke trio. This Wednesday, she’s set to star in a super authorial version of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue – and certainly in a very different way to the wonderful 22-minute reimagining Rhapsody in Various Shades of Blue, featured on Spectrum, 2019 album , and grafted onto themes by Coltrane and Pete Townshend.

“I become a full-fledged group”, he repeated several times about his solo performances. Born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, she entered music through classical piano, which she studied from an early age. He was delighted when his teacher showed him Erroll Garner, who could not even read music but had a very original rubato; and the Canadian Oscar Peterson, famous for his virtuosity. Between the two, she felt an affinity even for Peterson. But a world opened up before him when he met Chick Corea. Interesting: Peterson and Corea, each in their own way, also flirted with so-called classical music: the former with the romantic Lisztian piano; the second is passionate about the rhythms and distant harmonies of the Hungarian Bela Bartók.

And what has a hyperactive pianist like Hiromi been up to during the pandemic? He composed a quintet for piano and strings in four movements spread over 34 minutes. Isolation, isolation, is pure chamber music, based on an ostinato that alternates between strings and piano. Has she become erudite once and for all? Nearly 3 minutes, the piano begins to swing, using the blue notes.

Almost imperceptibly, the wise cello turns into a mini double bass. This wholesome (dis)respectful mixture commands the rest of this full-bodied work. The unknown, the unknown, seems to follow these scenes of hunting down police bandits. The finest and perhaps one of Hiromi’s finest compositions is the third movement, Drifters, a word that evokes what the Germans called “Wanderer”, the aimless wanderer, the prototype of 19th century European romantic ideas. .

Fortaleza, fourth and last movement, puts solid feet in “riffs” which sometimes support, sometimes provoke the soloist of the time, merge languages, unite opposites. The album was released last December. And it’s sure to be the perfect complement to Hiromi’s recital which, as always, will inundate the audience with a whirlwind of technical excellence. But do not forget that, in this case, the technique does not bury the musicality. On the contrary, it liberates musicality by opening up an infinite world of possibilities.


Hiromi Uehara – Solo World Tour – All Night Jazz

Where: Teatro Renault: Avenida Brigadeiro Luis Antônio, 411. R$ 50 / R$ 300.

When: Wednesday (8/6), 9 p.m.

Elmer Hayward

"Pop culture fan. Coffee expert. Bacon nerd. Infuriatingly humble communicator. Friendly gamer."

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