30 Mar 2011

Quite a nice day of Hiromi's birthday

Last weekend Hiromi Uehara had her 32th birthday. I guess that is the first time I mention about her on this blog, so I'll make everything clear by writing who is she and why caught my attention.

Hiromi Uehara (上原ひろみ, born 26 March 1979) is a jazz composer and pianist born in Hamamatsu, Japan. She is known for her virtuosic technique, energetic live performances and blend of musical genres such as jazz, progressive rock, classical and fusion in her compositions.

Hiromi's Trio 
Hiromi's trio initially consisted of bassist Mitch Cohn and drummer Dave DiCenso. In 2004, she recorded her second album Brain with fellow Berklee alums bassist Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora and has been recording and touring with them ever since.

Hiromi's Sonicbloom 
On October 19, 2006, the trio added guitarist David Fiuczynski in a performance at the Jazz Factory in Louisville KY. He is also featured in the albums "Time Control" and "Beyond Standard", and is currently touring with the group. Due to Fiuczynski's teaching commitments at Berklee College of Music, guitarist John Shannon performs with the group when Fiuczynski is unavailable.
Drummer Mauricio Zottarelli joined Hiromi's Sonicbloom for the 2009 tour.

Ok, that was just a quote from English Wikipedia, I didn't want to bother myself too much.

It is quite funny how I did find her. Since some time I believe that jazz (generally speaking) is following classical music in my hierarchy of musical taste. However, this time when that happened I was already only Classical Music lover, not caring about other genres. Due to my fetish, I have been searching symphonic/classical concerts videos to watch (vacation - I had a time). I don't exactly remember what did I write, but I found Hiromi's both concerts (A one recorded as "Hiromi" and the another as "Hiromi's Sonicbloom"). I did notice she is a jazz pianist, but still I thought like "someday I will watch that.

Track Listing:

XYZ | 5:37
Double Personality | 11:57
Summer Rain | 6:07
Joy | 8:29
010101 (binary system) | 8:23
Truth and Lies | 7:19
Dancando No Paraiso | 7:37
Another Mind | 8:43
The Tom and Jerry Show | 6:06 bonus track
Some time later, I eventually decided to test her first CD, "Another Mind". I didn't regret this decision.
Even though I felt a bit strange to listen to it, during a lot of hours of different classical music, it was a nice experience. It is not like I "love" this album, though. I won't lie to you - I really am classical music lover and that is probably the only genre I could really "love" for now. All of tracks here are not that emotional as classical music pieces can be (at least, that is how I feel like). The structure is very, like, complicated. I guess that is just typical for this kind of jazz instrumental music.
Hiromi herself wrote that:

"I don't want to put a name on my music. Other people can put a name on what I do. It's just the union of what I've been listening to and what I've been learning. It has some elements of classical music, it has some rock, it has some jazz, but I don't want to give it a name."

It's fantastic. I really am glad it is how she perceives her music. I would even like to conclude it saying "music is not about genres... Music is about feelings" (mimicry of Leonard Bernstein's sentence from Young People's Concerts). Of course it is, we can say that just needed, to title very composition by genre, however, all of these genres and a lot of subspecies makes me just sick.
The song I most enjoyed in this album probably is "Double Personality". It is much variated and using a lot of instruments. Piano, saxophone, bass guitar, electric guitar, drums and maybe yet something other, but I can't name it. Same "XYZ" is a very good beginning and provides a nice quality of the rest of the CD.
The way how tracks are titled is confusing, probably as with almost instrumental music pieces. Listening to the "Summer Rain", it is hardly to get the feeling you feel like it is raining in summer. As Hiromi said about the kind of her music, I think here should be a similar rule, recalling Bernstein yet again, and now I quote "Music is not about images or stories... It's about feelings". On the other hand, you must admit stories or "pictures" inspired many artists, won't you? Sorry, I deviated from the topic a bit.
"Joy" is actually joyful.
"Binary system" is familiar as well. I don't know what instrument or electronic stuff makes the sound which is there.
"Truth and Lies" is probably the most serious composition on this album. Because of that I like it. The piano is being more emotional, no a little bit like in the classical music, if you ask me.
"Dancando no Pariso" is, as titled a dancing track. It is typical you feel like you want to dance, or at least, I don't know, twirling.
 "Another Mind" is also a very well title for this specific track, since, erkhm, I'm not sure how to describe it.
 If there is some "The Tom and Jerry" theme, I can't recall it. It is a piano solo play. Very fast and color. After all, it might be the most cheering up song of its CD.
 I'm not making an actual review, since I didn't even listen this album much enough to adequately assess it. However, disappointing, that is the CD by Hiromi I listened most (like 3-4 thoroughly, I guess).
Jazz really is combined.

An outstanding cover, won't you agree?

After quite a long time I tried her newest (not for now, since it is "Voice") solo album "Place to Be". It really is a hard music, but in a different meaning than in classical. I seriously appreciated that album, but I couldn't enjoy in that so much. After all, what I prefer in classical music is that it is more emotional, gentle or arranged. I'm not sure if I can be moved by jazz. It's very complicated. It is even harder to remember jazzy compositions, since they are changing in every moment. Maybe I would even resign to keep listening Hiromi if not the last track of this album titled "Green Tea Farm". Later I found this was already composed earlier and contained in another, earlier album. But here was the arrangement with vocal... Her vocal, I guess. This is beautiful and touched me very deeply.

Just on the cover of DVD you can see her empathy
After that I've been listening to Hiromi's music very rarely, but I did. As well as I signed and remembered her date of birthday on my phone. To celebrate her birthday yesterday, I decided to watch the DVD of the concert promoting "Spiral" (2006). The very same day I also listened to this studio album and few others (especially from the project "Hiromi's Sonicbloom"). I must say it was worth to do.

The concert was simply fantastic. I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but listening to jazz in person is an awesome experience and it is a bigger difference between classical studio CDs and live orchestra.
Hiromi is very passionate... Along with two other members, she incredibly enjoys her music. The trio cooperates amazing. She on the piano, 2 other guys on drums and bass guitar. It was hard to not see her smiling. But it is not a stupid and faking smile/laugh. As I said, you can clearly see she enjoys in what she does. At some moments you could also hear her voice. I'm not yet aware as to how good album is "Spiral", but I noticed the title track sets the bar high. As well, as on the studio CD, here it was played on the beginning. You can see the full tracklist below:

Spiral [14:21]
If... [10:33]
Old Castle, By the River, In the Middle of a Forest [8:25]
Open Door-Tuning-Prologue [12:10]
Déjà Vu [8:43]
Reverse [6:51]
Edge [6:56]
Love and Laughter [11:29]
Dancando No Paraiso [15:05]

And here the tracklist on the album to compare:

Spiral | 9:57
Music for Three-Piece Orchestra:
Open Door - Tuning - Prologue | 10:13
Deja vu | 7:45
Reverse | 5:09
Edge | 5:14
Old Castle, by the river, in the middle of the forest | 8:16
Love and Laughter | 8:57
Return of Kung-Fu World Champion | 9:39
"bonus track"

As for the encore, they did not only perform one of the other song. There was also a solo by the drummer - Martin Valihora (It reminds me about that I didn't even mention the name of guitarist - it's Tony Grey). Its lenght was few minutes after Hiromi started her piano (of course I suspected that to happen, but I guess it was clear, wasn't it?) along with Tony Grey on bass guitar. Few whiles later that was the end.
All the audience stand up, so maybe you really could believe me, that was an epic evening.
The concert was recorded  live at Shinigawa Stellar Ball on December 2nd, 2005.

The next weekend I'm gonna watch her second DVD, and as I mentioned earlier - it is "Hiromi's Sonicbloom" production.

P.S. It will not surprise me if she comes to Poland (actually... Why not?!).

P.S 2. I just got to know she already has more DVDs! Gonna watch them all soon.

20 Mar 2011

Preparing for the tickets sale of 4th Music Festival in Cracow

I'm not sure if I mentioned to you that I will inform when the program in English and more informations about the festival will be known. If I did... sorry I write about it just now.
First of all, as maybe you remember, tomorrow is the tickets sale (21 March). Here is a problem, because I don't know which pass should I take. 200 zł for A zone or 100 zł for B zone (they are tickets for all concerts)? Unfortunately I don't have much money, so it really is a hard decision to make. Yet I don't have much time to think about that. I have no idea as to how fast the tickets will be sold, but I don't think I should worry that I will not be able to buy it on the exact time (10:00) of its sale. Maintenance for all these 4 days will cost me a lot, not saying about the transport. How much could I manage..?

Anyway, let's return to the festival. Just a few days after my post, they uploaded a trailer. It's just epic, so if you still didn't see, here you can take a look at it:

I will be honest with you. I have been watching it several times. It is so awesomely presented. I felt and still feel moved when I see and listen to Hisaishi's speech.

Here is actually all what you can find about the festival in English.

Well then... I hope I will be lucky to get a good seat on Monday and... Wait 2 months for 19 May. I guess it will be a very long waiting...

Lately, I have been listening to Distant Worlds even more than earlier. It really is an amazing project. All of 3 discs currently released (I don't think there will be next though, especially since the last one has a DVD [which I can't find anywhere]) present brilliant orchestral arrangements of compositions, mainly by Nobuo Uematsu, but also Masashi Hamauzu (speaking of him, I need to listen his soundtracks for new FF games). Besides Arnie Roth and orchestras, there also are stunning soloists, for piano, for guitar, for vocal... I think in days I will write a bit more about Distant Worlds, a separate post.

15 Mar 2011

Good News! Inter beats Bayern 3-2 in Champions League

Gomez 21'
Müller 31'
Eto'o 4'
Sneijder 63'
Pandev 88'


Aggregate: 3-3 Inter win on away goals

Inter passed to the quarterfinal! I was really angry after the first match at San Siro, because there should at least be draw... But does it matter now? Even though in this match, the first half was completely conducted by Bayern and they had a lot of opportunities to score, Inter finally started to play beautifully and they did it (though I'm sure "experts" on the Polish TV have much different opinions). Eto'o was fantastic... I can't believe what I'm saying, but that definitely is a man of the match. I was very disappointed about Stanković and I think, it was a good decision to let play Coutinho in the next half.

Yet again I must say how grateful I'm to Leonardo. After that what Benitez messed, I guess it wasn't easy to makes this team return to its epic play! What is a curious thing... Just before Pandev scored the 3rd goal, Leonardo entered Nagatomo to play... It seems so strange, like because of this horrible disaster players were more motivated and it helped them to play that generously.

Forza Nerazzurri! 

I'm moved again. I really am.

P.S I wasn't today of my first (theoretical) lesson of driving license. I'm actually going there tomorrow, at 5 p.m.

11 Mar 2011

Earthquake in Japan

Japan suffers. It is hard and even not possible not to mention about what happened and still is happening in our lovely country of cherry blossoms.
After a massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake they have to survive Tsunami, which high is ~10 meters.
Hopefully nobody (I guess) dear to me died or vanished. Any friend from Japan and any of famous Japanese people I know. Mitsuda, Hisaishi, Miyamoto and so on... They are alright. Surely, there are many other fantastic persons... I hope they are fine too.
What wonders me, that is not the end. How many dies could there be at last? I do believe there is possibility of around 100.000. Besides deaths of population, (what is the most important thing to mention) there are enormous number of material damages. Lately Japanese economy is falling down, so I wonder how it will be now.
I'm much scared about the case with nuclear factories.

If you want to know more in every next minute, I recommend you to follow the website of BBC or their channel on TV.

I guess I can't fully enjoy in Yuja's Rachmaninov CD. Though I can claim it is amazingly performed (I'm just done with it, first time), Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini as well as 2nd concerto, for now I won't tell you more.

In the meantime, father of my uncle died, also today. He was 90. I've seen him only few times in my life.
Rest in Peace to you and all Japans. My condolences. What a cursed day...

Yuja Wang, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Claudio Abbado

I wish to announce that just a moment ago I eventually found the new CD of Yuja for download. Will be listening tomorrow!

7 Mar 2011

"Mouse on the Keys" in Blue Note

Yesterday (Sunday) was my first time in "Blute Note" a curious Jazz Club located in Poznań. What makes things easy, it's downtown, nearly to practically everything what interests me (like philharmonic). About its renown kept me want to go there for a much time, however, just day before today I eventually managed to attend on the concert. I'm pretty sure that many bands or artists performing there (all of them?) are worth to know. Even Porcupine Tree had a concert there, one of my favorite progressive rock bands (old time...ah). Since I get mostly into Classical music and Jazz is my second genre, I get an interest in "Mouse on the Keys". Will my decision to going to see them was strengthen the fact they are Japanese, you ask? Yes, probably, I guess so.
You must be aware that only if I could be able (time, MONEY) - I could see there much more times.

Mouse on the Keys
The concert itself began after an hour of waiting. It should start at 7 p.m, instead we had to wait for 8 p.m (I guess so, I'm not exactly sure). It didn't cause me any problem at all, because I had a very nice company.

Well, anyway, Mouses finally arrived and started their show.  They also set a projector from which pictures and animations were appearing, in the rhythm of the music (at least, that is what I think so). I liked it. Really awesome staging, it created a great atmosphere. I'm not sure with which track they started, but I easy recognized the second one, it is "Saigo no bansan" ("最後の晩餐") which I could not not remember. This calmly, emotional piano at the beginning...yet forte, allegro after few seconds. This song is played on their website and I must admit that is a one of their best.
I can't really tell you how was the whole program of this concert, but I'm sure they played all of their tracks since there are only 13 compositions (Ep - 4, Album - 9).
Do I have my favorite track? Probably I prefer some of them more than other, but I can't choose a favorite one, even though I've been listening CDs for 5 times already (+ the concert yesterday, of course). Actually all have something outstanding to present. I like insertions with saxophone, but hell piano or keyboard is not worse. Generally, drums take the most important part, but I guess it is just logical.
After all of tracks (what took them ~1 hour! With a pause after ~30 minutes. This pause was incredibly long, 30 minutes, like a half of this concert...) they presented (definitely facetiously) as the encore their new, alleged composition they just created and called "Kochamy Was" ("We love you", yes guys, that is Polish). It was rather extraordinary, I think a one of the member was growling... well... Anyhow, it was very nice from them to do that. That was not the end at all. After another applause, the second time they were...partly serious. It was like a mix of few of their compositions, very well played, honestly. To make an epic end, they started to...rave. Jumping on the scene, one of the member on his keyboard, another one on drums... Are Japanese really that crazy or it i typical among the scene of music/clubs like that?
While the concert, they also commented. Not only "Thank you" and Polish words they were trying to say, but 2 players recommended their albums to buy. It was much funny, because, as expect from Japanese, their English was hilarious.
Mouse on the Keys is generally a trio, however, this time there was 2 more artists. I can't really say why since I simply don't remember.
To summarize, only shortly I will say - An awesome concert. That means I will definitely return to Blue Note some day.
Mouse on the Keys seriously interested me and I hope they will announce a new album soon (while I still will be listening to them). Lately I've listening jazz and that is probably I decided to participate in this concert.

What about the club? I like its atmosphere. I don't think there are much places to sit, but man people had standing tickets. It is like in Philharmonic, but here are less people. Much less... It is more chamber.
Although I'm not very positive about this American title, nah.
I also notice a big difference between being at the concert and listening studio album between classical concert and this one, in Blue Note. What matters is probably the sound. In philharmonic they don't use amplifiers (hopefully logical), here the music was powerful and ears-hurting.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos, so I won't show you how it all looks... Sorry...I will manage to do it next time. As well as I didn't do with the band.

4 Mar 2011

Joe Hisaishi in..........Poland. Poland...?!

Joe Hisaishi
I lack words and I don't know what to do just now. I can't study, I can't logically think, I just can't do nothing at all and that is for 2 hours.
Now I simply have to write. This orgasmic title... It is all truly. Joe seriously will be in Poland, more correctly - Cracow. If that is not a one of the most exciting news for me ever, then at least one of the most.
Lately, he became to be my favorite composer of contemporary classical music. His scores for GHIBLI movies are indescribable great. I can't say it in words and that is rather not because I'm not good enough in English and I don't know equally words - that is just impossible to express like that.
I couldn't really say ALL of his works are an act of pure greatness, but at least all what I listened by him is worth to know. Did I mention that is his FIRST time performing in EUROPE? Can you believe that? I can't.

Unfortunately, currently there is no news about the program of this concert in English - only in Polish. Anyway, check it out if you understand our language, here.
I will shortly say what is going on, just now:
This year we celebrate the 4th year of Film Music Festival in Cracow. Even one year ago I was much angry, because there was the music from "Lord of the Ring" (Howard Shore himself as a conductor) and I couldn't go. This time I can't miss the occasion. I will buy tickets, no matter how much expensive they are.
You wanna know the program, ech? As I said, I will tell you shortly, only shortly... I don't need to write much about it since there surely will be a news in English on the website of this festival.

First day, we will be listening to Joe Hisaishi (I would prefer him at the end, but nah, is that really so important?) and few of his works for Miyazaki's masterpieces - it includes Princess Mononoke (..............), Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Nausicaa of the valley of Wind. Besides there will be a suite of music of Takeshi Kitano movies, like Hana-bi, Kid Returns or Summer.

There it goes, another funny part of my post - in the next day a music from Distant Worlds I'm listening recently... Is that all a stupid joke or what? Is that? Somebody conspired that? Hisaishi and Hamauzu in Cracow? If you told me that without giving the source of information it is the true - I really wouldn't believe.
Arnie Roth as a conductor, obviously. That is a pity I won't see Uematsu-san, but I think I will have an opportunity later and you know how, right?

Masashi Hamauzu
Arnie (Arnold) Roth

The main hero of "Wiedźmin"
On the same day  they will also perform Wiedźmin 2 compositions. It a second part of Polish game series (widely appreciated). The composers names are Adam Skorupa and Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz.
Of course it is an adaptation - originally Wiedźmin books are written by Andrzej Sapkowski, which I still didn't read.

3rd day - Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl by Klaus Badelt. I'm really positive about that too.
The last one - Music from "Czas Honoru" will be played on 4th day. That title... I'm not familiar with it at all. Seems to be a Polish TV series about World War II. Surprisingly it also seems to be a good one, just take a look at imdb. The composer? Bartosz Chajdecki.

If you wanna buy the tickets - they will be on sale on 21st March. You can book them at eventim.
The festival will take place between 19-22 May. 

Does dreams become reality? Will I be able to be on this event? I can't say for sure I will - Of course I'm gonna buy tickets, I'm gonna go there and spend probably all these 4 days. However, knowing my life I can expect everything. Never be sure, that is my rule.
I may go there and die of excitement.
It is simply impossible. Lately I've been listening to Hisaishi more and more, more and more and more and more... I have been watching his concerts, I had a conversations with someones about him and that what happened just simply...happened. Funny, isn't it? It looks like he hears me and my supplication. I could believe God helped me if I wouldn't be an agnostic.
I'm off. I have an English exam tomorrow.

P.S In the meantime, I will probably re-watch and review "Joe Hisaishi in Budokan" concert as I promised you. This information above is an enormous motivation to do that, isn't it?