Hiromi Uehara: The Queen of Keys

The 90-minute set by Hiromi Uehara left me spellbound from the first to the last note she played. It was pure magic to say the least. The way her fingers glided across the piano keys so effortlessly, the way she tinkled the ivories to concoct a blend of classical music, jazz, post-pop and progressive rock, Hiromi made it seem so easy. 

Hiromi and her duo, comprising of renowned bassist Anthony Jackson and multi-genre drummer Steve Smith, opened the show at the Esplanade Concert Hall with 'Desire'. The upbeat piece was the perfect choice to begin with, as it displayed the unique chops of each of them, highlighting how their individual sounds complemented one another beautifully.

There is something wonderful about Hiromi’s music - the truth and sincerity attached to each piece. It was amazing how hearing her music being played live, sparked the creative juices in me there and then. In my seat (with my eyes still fixated on Hiromi doing her thing), I began to mentally craft a series of possible choreography for every piece she played soulfully. 

Interestingly enough, I was not the only person who was inspired in one way or another. In the seat upfront from where I was, I saw an elderly lady waving her index fingers lightly from side to side, emulating command strokes of an orchestra conductor. Two seats away, a man in a suit was practicing Hiromi’s 'Now or Never” on his imaginary piano simultaneously while the queen of keys herself was performing that very piece. 

The riveting solo performance of 'Haze' left every bone in my body reeling with bittersweet melancholia. I could feel the entire concert hall soaking in the tear-jerking, heart-tugging chords. That particular piece takes the cake for performance of the night. Mesmerizing, moving and truly inspiring. Her music is golden and she is a gem, who had me at the first note. Thank you, Hiromi.