video of hiromi playing "sakura sakura" at youtube:

here are the changes for the solo section, it's basic slow stride:

part 1 (many times)

||: abmaj7 |  bb7/ab :||  

left hand plays low single note ab octave and then strides up to a 2nd inversion abmaj7 followed by a 2nd inversion bb7

part 2 (many times)

||: c-7 | b7alt | bbmi7 | a7b13 |
abmaj | eb/g | f-7 (11) | g7 alt :||  

during the first section of her solo she plays mostly with the bb and ab major pentatonic scales which are among the easiest pentatonic of all to play fast. hiromi also uses a lot of fmi and g mi blues licks. she also adds occasional chromatic passing tones and continuous patterns.

during the second half of her solo, where the changes descend chromatically, she plays mostly with the c mi blues scale and also some chromatic passing tones, some continuous patterns, and fragments of the various jazz scales associated with the changes going by. it gets slightly rough at times as she gets so excited and carried away during her solo.


for that eb/g voicing i think she plays root = g and then the stride voicing for eb as perfect 4ths: f bb eb.

here is the traditional melody for the japanese folk song "sakura" :

and here is a more traditional piano performance of sakura. the melody is based on a five note a minor scale  (a b c e f) (chords are ami, dmi and e7)(intro is e7(b9) or the 5th mode of a harmonic minor and rather phrygian sounding ):


hiromi plays sakura in c minor. she recasts the melody in relative ab major lydian during part 1. the top notes of hiromi's chords in part 1 also state the first three notes of the melody. she never really plays the melody she just hints at it by repeating the first three notes many times. i think many japanese who know the song would not be able to recognize since she never really states the melody.
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