During the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival, JazzTimes set up a make-shift video production studio backstage inside the old barracks of Fort Adams. During two afternoons, a succession of artists-including Hiromi, Esperanza Spalding, Ambrose Akinmusire, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Miguel Zenon and many others-came in to talk about the festival, jazz education and their own projects. We will be posting these interviews at jazztimes.com over the next few months. You can also see more of these video inteviews at the JazzTimes YouTube channel.
In only a period of a few years at Newport and elsewhere, pianist Hiromi (Uehara) went from exciting young artist to established marquee act. When she first appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival, Hiromi performed on the smallest stage, yet created such a palpable buzz and electricity that it felt like a mainstage headliner playing a small club. Cut to just a few years later and Hiromi has in fact become a mainstage act, and as a solo artist, no less. At the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival she performed two sets-one solo and another with a “power trio” with Anthony Jackson on electric bass and Simon Phillips on drums. Her appearance at the merchandise tent to sell CDs and sign autographs prompted the longest lines for any of the weekend’s performers.