Monday, August 8

Charismatic and Flawless: Powerful Hiromi


The Japanese Hiromi has once again offered a demonstration of piano power in a recital in which her passion for classical music has appeared more than ever during the third day of the Jazzaldia, in which the resounding and elegant voice of Gregory Porter has also shone . Charismatic and communicative, Hiromi, in addition to possessing an impeccable technique, is a spectacle. Her overwhelming gestures, her touches of humor and her expressiveness ensure that the public has as much fun as those who accompany her on stage and herself, reports Efe.

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This has been the fourth time he has visited the San Sebastian festival. After his debut in 2010, when he played with bassist Stanley Clark’s quartet, he was with The Trio Project the following year, in 2013 he closed the Jazzaldia and in 2017 he performed with the Colombian harpist Admar Castañeda. This Friday she has arrived at the Plaza de la Trinidad accompanied by a string quartet made up of Rakvinder Singh (violin), Shlomy Dobrinsky (violin) Meghan Cassidy (viola) and Gabriela Swallow (cello) with whom she has performed “Silver Linning”, a work that he composed in a pandemic, as he explained.

Many of the influences of this eclectic artist prevail, but in “Silver Linning” melodies and harmonies are intensely perceived, reminiscent of Rachmaninov or the French Impressionists, composers for whom she has always felt devotion. Moments of deep romantic lyricism have alternated with passages of repetitive minimalism and, of course, jazz, a lot of jazz, as the backbone of Hiromi’s almost percussive piano.

Energy in a state throughout the recital, especially in the solos, plagued by repetitions of notes and scales that he executes cleanly, to the beat of accents, with a frenetic, almost electric rhythm. The musicians of the quartet have not lagged behind the pianist with whom they have shown a perfect symbiosis. Hiromi has also offered a delicious version of “Blackbird” by the Beatles that the public, delivered from the beginning of the concert, has applauded with force.

He was preceded on stage in Plaza de La Trinidad by his compatriot Miho Hazama, who led the Musikene Summer Big Band, made up of students from the Higher School of Music of the Basque Country, who demonstrated their professionalism with a selection of themes by Hazama herself and song arrangements by Duke Ellington, Herbie Hanckok and Thelonious Monk. The third day of the Jazzaldia has had another star of luxury at the Kursaal: the singer Gregory Porter, who on his fifth visit to this San Sebastian festival has been welcomed by his followers with the same fervor as in his debut in 2013. ‘On my way to Harlem“ and ”If love Is Overrated“ are some of the songs that have been played in this recital in which he has been accompanied by Chip Crawford on piano, Emanuel Harrold on drums, Tivon Pennicott, on sax, Jahmal Nichols, on bass, and Oderj Pivec, on the Hammond organ.

The musician from Sacramento (California) has offered a repertoire of different genres and styles, which he has embroidered with that torrent of voice that flows from his throat with amazing naturalness. From his very wide tessitura he has moved with “Liquid Spirit”, he has covered “My Girl” and “Papa Was A Rollin Stone” by The Temptations and has interpreted a wide “Musical Genocide” from his way of understanding jazz, soft and eternal, without fanfare, content, but full of strength.

It seemed like it was the end but the public asked for more and Porter returned to the stage to sing “Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps!” by his admired Nat King Cole, to definitively close the evening with “No Love Dyngs”. In addition, this Friday, the Ethiopian Mulatu Astatke has become the first African musician to receive the Donostiako Jazzaldia award that the Festival awards to great names of the genre. He has collected it from the hands of the director of the Jazzaldia, Miguel Martín, as an award “for all of Africa”, for the contribution that the culture of that continent makes to that of the rest of the world.

“African culture has impregnated the world with its knowledge, not only in musical terms, but in many other artistic disciplines such as dance. And that is why I appreciate so much this award that they offer me today”, underlined the father of ethio-jazz, who was one of the protagonists of Thursday night on the stage of Zurriola beach.





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