ok, after extended listening i had to ask, (don't hate me for it), but who do you think would win in a cutting contest? right now hiromi imho is the best of the best, wouldn't you agree?

oscar:



or

hiromi:




jv'
There are 23 comments, leave a comment.
one youtube listener said this:

i emailed a few links of hiromi tunes to my 80 year old dad, who's been listening to jazz forever, . this is what he emailed back:

"thanks a lot. that lady is unbelievable--faster than tatum. to be that mistake free in live concerts is impossible. "i got rhythm" sounds digital[sp?]i will search more on her on the web.where did you find her? her playing would have peterson returning earth-bound to resume practicing. dad"
because technique is just one dimension of a musician, and in some respects is the least significant aspect of what they communicate (unless it is so undeveloped that it gets in the way), my answer to your question is "who cares?" not to be a dick, but just because i don't know that such discussions are significant.

the comparison with oscar i don't understand, because i personally don't consider oscar peterson to be far and above the most technically proficient of that generation of pianists (and i don't believe that should diminish oscar peterson at all, he's amazing). i mean, if we're talking about sheer numbers of notes, or two handed octave technique, i'd say that phineas newborn in some, but not all, aspects of piano playing might have been even more technically proficient. and we can't forget art tatum. but there are so many dimensions to technique. fast stride is a completely different technical challenge than somebody playing say in the manner of 1960s herbie hancock at a fast tempo, like say so what on the complete concert. either pianist would struggle to do what the other is doing because the technique a pianist develops is designed to be in service of what they want to achieve musically. and now he sings, now he sobs era chick corea is technically flawless, and a lot of that stuff feels awkward and lies under the hand a lot less comfortably than the bebop material oscar played, and he's playing very nearly as fast. this is why i think technical throw-downs between various pianists don't really mean a whole lot. we're not even touching on what they're even doing!

both hiromi is absolutely technically ridiculous. oscar's technically amazing, as well. she very well might be technically better at the piano than oscar, if that even means anything. if we're talking sheer technique, gonzalo rubalcaba is probably far beyond both of them. then tigran's coming up now, and his technical approach is absolutely astonishing, as well. and still we haven't talked about what these people are actually playing! i happen to really like paul bley, and prefer what he plays to many pianists who are technically far beyond him. ditto with clare fischer and jarrett.

that's why i don't understand the point of these kinds of debates; although they do raise important questions about what the function of music even is. is it to be impressive, or to communicate? there are multiple dimensions, and different people get really different things from music. the technique is usually not something i'm thinking about unless it's getting in the way of someone expressing their ideas. and even in the case of a pianist like thelonious monk, does it even prevent him from getting his musical ideas across?

hm
well said, hm
to answer your opening question... a simple... "no".
i think she is a good pianist with a lot of chops and a lot of potential.  to say she is the best of the best is a  gross over statement of her achievements and of her abilities.
i agree with hepcatmonk's sentiments.  such a debate is absolutely pointless.  kai
everyone is forgetting that she doesn't just play jazz.

listen to her groove on this video...



skip to 5 minutes on the video and listen to her left hand.  the control she has over it is astonishing considering she's playing between the nord and the piano.  she is a 'current' peterson/tatum/insert jazz monster here.  

people will look back on her in years to come and she will be just as big as peterson was in terms of technique.  i think she may sounds more flawless and precise than oscar but that may be quality of recordings fooling me.
it's cool that you like her so much, but what is so astonishing about her, the fact that she has practiced a lot  (and probably still does)?  couldn't you do that too if you practiced more?

it's funny, but herbie hancock can play one note and it makes my day:)  different strokes for different folks:)
nicely said dr.
i've come around to being a hiromi fan like many other pianists.  i love the fun factor in her playing and her virtuosity.  i enjoy her stage presence and listening to her music is inspiring.

however, the only thing i'd compare her to oscar with is technique.  when she plays "like" oscar peterson she accents the notes in all the right places, she plays fast, she can obviously do whatever she wants on the piano, just like oscar.

the thing she doesn't have is the ability to give me happy feet because in as much as she's an amazing pianist, she doesn't have the x-factor, at least not yet.

what's the x-factor to me?  taking all those tools, all that rhythm expertise, all that virtuosity, and making it into something bigger than notes being played on a piano.

oscar did that all the time.  he brought the house down not because of virtuosity and know how, he brought the house down because his music resonated with the blood coursing through people's hearts, his music would find a way into a person or an audience and they would be swept away by the river of it.

hiromi doesn't do that to me.  listening and watching her play for me is more like being impressed by an amazing diamond, or a very nice swiss watch, or watching a lamborghini drive down the street. impressive, jaw dropping, an omg experience, but it doesn't touch the soul, and that's one of the things that made oscar great.

(i'm not stating this stuff as universal fact, it's just my opinion and how i feel when i listen to them playing)
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nailed it scot!
i agree with most of the above posts. but couldn't we just say that despite her incredible technique, hiromi doesn't really swing? that's why comparing her to oscar is silly, because if he has one thing, it's swing...
sorry for the delay, been bed-ridden due to a back injury. :(

thanks for the input to everyone who replied. the main thing i like about hirmoi though is the fact that she plays in different styles and she does it well, unbelievable technique, and incredible passion etc..


but, i think scott nailed it. oscar's music touched people in a different way, i think because he infused blues, combined with a hard swing and a complete synthesis of all the styles that preceded him and all the while he maintained an unrelenting drive for perfection. one thing that i haven't heard anybody else touch upon, maybe except scott (well he hinted at it) back in 2006.  

oscar peterson was not a small man! he stood at 6'3 and weighed at one point close to 300 pounds, had huge hands and was very physically strong. and you can hear that in his playing, in the video i posted there is distortion but you can still hear the incredible power, drive and passion in his music. each and every one of oscar's notes sound "big"!

now here is the big surprise, oscar had (like myself) rheumatoid arthritis, and its a very debilitating disease. he was almost always in pain while he was playing, but look at the incredible music he played, just goes to show you what can happen when you really want something!  


jv'
yes dr. i agree except that does not really cover it ... she also lacks emotional maturity.  i think she may be a great pianist one day when she grows up.
would i buy a hiromi album? no.

if someone gave me a hirmoi album, would i listen to it more than once? no.

is her music relaxing?  no.

does her music give me pleasure? no.

all of the questions will be "yes" for oscar.  has hiromi played anything as good as this:


is it hard to play, technically speaking? no.  can hiromi play it like that?  no.  why?  i don't know.  she can't, or she won't, or both.
well super-boy i disagree her music is pleasurable, but i admittedly get more pleasure from listing to o.p.


esp when he's playing stuff like this:  

a couple of points: i saw hiromi speak before a concert.  she does, in fact, play almost non-stop in her personal life, even to the point of tapping on a book if there is no piano around.  i agree she could use a little more seasoning, and probably will get it with age.  there is an old japanese tale i heard about a brilliant would-be young musician, called "something lacking" that may apply.
they are very different pianist from different cultures and different eras. hiromi explores a much wider range of fusion styles. i like them both but for straight ahead jazz there is not much comparison... in terms of straight ahead jazz, osacar could solo over the changes of standards in a far deeper melodic way.
i have no appreciation for comparisons of one artist versus another artist. i hope that offends no person who has posted. we are talking of an art, not a sport. i could never say that picasso was a greater artist than da vinci. just my opinion.
i dig hiromi's energy in this amazing pentademonic solo starting at 1:55, (forget that it's supposed to be 'good bye pork pie hat', it's stanley clarke's version so blame him for the fusion treatment, sorry!). anyway hiromi tears it up as usual:
stanley clarke can be so boring but hiromi comes to the rescue in that clip and bails him out starting at 1:55
hiromi is a lot more comparable to chick corea and his fusion periods than oscar peterson, she does tribute to oscar only when playing stride. by the way, erroll garner is also a big influence on her solo piano stride playing.
i agree with scott. in fact i'd say that is the case with a lot of the players of today. great players with great technique, better in some cases than the masters, but they don't have x factor, soul, musicality, whatever you like to call it.

i agree it's a personal thing. a lot of people seem to like the players of today. i think the music has changed, move on, as well the audience.
oh jesus christ no oscar takes this one, hands down. in terms of listenability, phrasing, musical soul. hiromi is just too frenetic here and her playing doesn't breathe. although there's some you tube clips of hiromi doing tom+jerry way, way better than this
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