HIROMI UEHARA

INTERVIEW

March 2017

Interview by
THANOS ARVANITIS

 
 
Why jazz and not classical or some other music genre? What was the turning point that made you choose to become a jazz pianist?
I have never thought of becoming a jazz pianist, I am only a pianist, I play music, period. I love improvisation and that is the core of jazz music I think,

Was there a lot of music in the house when you were growing up?
No, none of my family are musical, but I was fortunate to have a great piano teacher as my first piano teacher who loved all kinds of music.

Which is the most positive thing that happened while on stage, or on tour, and which is the weirdest?
Most positive – when I feel like I am seeing the landscape in music that I have never seen before with the audience together.
Weirdest – when I am sitting at the gate waiting for the delayed flights.

Do you have a performance you consider the best, the most unforgettable? (either solo or with your projects)
Hopefully the next show.

You have collaborated with so many great musicians and have performed all around the world, what is the dream (biggest ambition) of Hiromi as a musician?
Playing with an symphonic orchestra around the world. I have done a couple of shows with an orchestra in Japan and player my own piano concerto, and I would love to do that in many different places.

During a world tour, how do you find time to compose new songs?
In the hotel room, in the soundcheck, in the green room, when some inspiration lands to me, doesn’t matter where I am at.

Besides, do you have time off to just relax and stop thinking about music?
Yes, but I am always thinking about music which is relaxing enough,
I am always with music like I eat or sleep.

On the same note, when you perform around the world do you have the chance to listen to the local music scene and meet up with local musicians?
Not really unfortunately, very rarely.

Taking into consideration the “cultural globalization” (primarily via the internet) of recent times, how will you define “world music” and “new jazz” today?
To me, music is music, period. I don’t think about genres much. When musicians have something to say with their own words, they tell the stories with music, and people can name what it is.

Any idea of what is a typical audience in your live performance?
I have very wide generation audience, which I love, music is such an universal language.

It seems to me, that your music incorporates elements which appeal to music fans in general and not just to jazz aficionados.
I think so, in one show, I see a little boy, next to the guy with Iron Maden T-shirt, next to the older lady with the pearl necklace, and I love it.

Can you tell us about your new project with Edmar Castañeda?
I met him in Montreal Jazz Festival in 2016, I felt we speak same musical language, and same level of passion and commitment. I have written some new music for this project and can’t wait for the new musical adventures with him.

We were happy to see you perform in Greece for the first time last summer and excited to welcome you back this year. Can you tell us, how it was for you this first concert in our country and what to expect in your Athenian gig in May?
I played in the very beautiful Thessaloniki last year, I was so happy to be there and share my music with the audience. It will be my very first show in Athens, never been there and I am so excited to go to such a historical city!

 
 

I would like to thank
Kostas Vlahos
for his help and valuable contribution
in conducting this interview (T. A.)