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Hiromi: Alive

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If there’s a drawback to all-star groups, it’s that they have little to prove. Which may explain why it took a few years for Japanese pianist Hiromi to find the formula for her vaunted Trio Project, with bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, to gel like her gifted 2004-2009 trio with younger fellow Berklee alumni Tony Grey (bass) and Martin Valihora (drums). Alive, recorded live in the studio, boils in comparison to the Trio Project’s standard studio predecessors Voice (2011) and Move (2013).

Hiromi concerts with Jackson (whose credits include Chick Corea, Al Di Meola and Steely Dan) and Phillips (Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, David Gilmour) have been more energetic over the trio’s four-year reign, as documented on the 2011 concert DVD Live in Marciac. Alive explodes out of the gate with even more velocity. After an ethereal intro, the nine-minute title track features the pianist’s signature classically influenced soloing and stop-and-start sections amid the rhythm section’s accelerated tempo.

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