Among young jazz pianists, Hiromi Uehara has an undeserved reputation for being noncerebral. Because of her bubbly personality and antic stage demeanor, some people see in her a musician who gets by exclusively on instinct and spur-of-the-moment inspiration. For sure, she loves to show off, and her live performances often leave audiences spent and breathless. Several years ago, when she did a series of duo concerts with Chick Corea, there were reports that she almost gave him a heart attack.
But a lot of her recorded work demonstrates genuine calculation, in particular the music she makes with the prog-rock ensemble Sonic Bloom. As she becomes more assured as a world-class jazz artist, she also seems determined to assert her originality rather than her technique. She wrote all the songs on her new trio album, “Voice,” and while they occasionally wander into the muddy terrain of fusion, they retain their melodic distinctiveness even during the improvisational passages. They’re true compositions, written with three instruments in mind.