Ahead of Japanese pianist Hiromi’s only London dates this year – three evenings at Cadogan Hall, April 13th, 14th and 15 – BOOKINGS HERE – Sebastian interviewed her by email:
LondonJazz: You were born in Shizuoka near Mount Fuji. What gave you the impulse to leave Japan and go to the US, and how old were you?
Hiromi: 20 years old, I went to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music.
LJ: Do you come from a musical family?
LJ: Your energy always seems phenomenal. Have you always been like that?
H: I was always very energetic and always curious.
LJ: Who had the biggest impact (either teacher or fellow student) among the people you got to know at Berklee?
H: Richard Evans, who introduced me to Ahmad Jamal and co-produced my first album with Ahmad.
LJ: And you now live in ….?
HNew York and Tokyo.
LJ: Where do you now think of as home?
H: Wherever I can be with my family, people count more than places.
LJ: Do you still keep a musical diary every day? What kind of things get put in it? Do you still try to compose every day? Do you compose at the piano?
H: I try to write something every day, most of the times I compose at the piano, but sometimes I compose in my head.
LJ: A decisive meeting was with Chick Corea, how did it happen?
H: I met him when I was 17, he happened to be rehearsing for his show in Tokyo in the same building that I was at.
LJ: And he’s an immense practicer / hard worker / explorer. And you have that in common, right?
H: He is very inspirational. I do like to work hard.
LJ: You thank Ahmad in the credits for ‘Move’. Is that Ahmad Jamal?
H: Ahmad Jamal has been one of the biggest inspirations in my life, he has been always very encouraging in my career, I cannot thank him enough.
LJ: Who are your gods in rock music? In fusion?
H : Frank Zappa
LJ: How long has your trio with Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips been together?
H : Since 2010
LJ: Your arrangements are complex. Do they stay the same or evolve as you tour?
H ; It evolves every day, since we’ve played as a trio for a couple of years now, we know each other better and interact better, it is so much fun to find something new everyday with them.
LJ: Is there room for freedom / improvisation?
H: There is a lot of improvisation, we always try to find a new landscape.
LJ: Move is your 11th album and there is – I understand – a twelfth on the way? What can you say about the new album?
H : It is called ALIVE and it will be the same band, the trio project with Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips.
As a trio, we became stronger team with playing many shows together. I wanted to write songs that deal with things and emotions that we encounter in life. The album will come out in June.
LJ: When you come to London what tunes will you be playing?
Hiromi Songs from the album VOICE and MOVE, and also from the upcoming album ALIVE.
LondonJazz: We’re looking forward to it! (pp)