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Pianist Hiromi is a Strong Voice for Jazz Fusion

This Japanese-born prodigy has always done what she wants, and now she is bringing a rocking trio to Kuumbwa.

Hiromi Uehara, 33,  was one of those prodigies who seemed destined to play classical music.

At 6, she began piano and at 14 she was playing with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. At 17, after a chance meeting with jazz fusion pianist Chick Corea in Tokyo, he invited her to join him on stage the next day.

After that she came to the States to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston and launch a prodigious jazz career, a restless one that not only has her fusing with classical and Broadway tunes, but that pushes rock/jazz fusion as boldly as Corea once did.

Her new trio includes bassist Anthony Jackson (who has played with Paul Simon, The O’Jays, Steely Dan and Chick Corea) and drummer Simon Phillips (known for work with Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, David Gilmour and Jack Bruce).

To say she is adventurous is an understatement.

She brings this trio to Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz Wednesday night for two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. The 7 p.m. show is sold out already.

Her 2011 disc Voice is a revelation that shows that in fact, long after it was said to have been buried under the weight of its pomposity, to borrow from Steve Miller, jazz fusion is alive and well.

Check her performance with the current trio last summer to see just how dynamic a player and performer she is.

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