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Tradition Leaping to the Sky

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Hiromi began her first set at the Blue Note on Tuesday night with a head fake, unaccompanied at the piano. She was playing an old tune, “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise,” in a vintage stride style: rakish downbeat, rolling tremolos, walking tenths, the whole deal. But then her band clicked into gear, and the song became a new-age dreamscape, gauzy and grandiose, alternating four and three beats to the bar.

The shift was deliberately jarring. A similar thing happens at the start of “Beyond Standard” (Telarc), Hiromi’s new album, but in that case the pianistic prelude comes with the crackle and hiss of an old record. Tradition is of considerable use to Hiromi, but mainly as a springboard; she’s always poised to jackknife through the stratosphere.

Sonicbloom, her frenetic but exacting fusion band, relies on the strong propulsion of the British bassist Tony Grey and the Brazilian drummer Mauricio Zottarelli. Its wild card is David Fiuczynski, an electric guitarist capable of brash, tumultuous actions. (In his other life he leads a volatile jazz-funk band called Screaming Headless Torsos.) Mr. Fiuczynski, playing a custom double-neck guitar, brought a hint of welcome savagery to the set, if only just a hint; he seemed acutely conscious of the music’s tight requirements.

On “Deep Into the Night,” an episodic original, he was the first to play the melody, against a curtain of piano arpeggios. After the tune lurched into overdrive, he fashioned a controlled freak-out, bending pitches with his whammy bar. He was just as expressive in “Led Boots,” a Jeff Beck tune, but with more background guidance from Hiromi, who kept one hand on the piano and the other on a synthesizer.

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