Debut CD “a-mé”


Debut CD Released in 2010

“Hiroe’s inventive writing and playing are full of surprises. Her music makes me smile!” - Russell Ferrante, Yellowjackets, two-time Grammy winner

Hiroe’s first full-fledged CD album is now complete and available! Her 20 years of playing experience and all her energy and talent were put into her piano plays, arrangements, and her own compositions in this CD. Her brilliant piano was accompanied by LA’s such top-notch musicians as Peter Erskine (drums), Tony Dumas (Bass), Bob Sheppard (soprano and tenor saxophones), et al, and the CD was produced by Russell Ferrante, the keyboardist/arranger/composer of the two-time grammy award winner group, Yellowjackets.  The CD is now available on the internet. Following are the websites where you can download individual tracks, or order the entire CD!

Reviews
“The harmonization of “If I Were A Bell” is alluring in it’s delivery…This disc mixes the pulse of jazz with the ambience of a Japanese garden to utmost perfection.” –George W. Harris by Jazzweekly.com

“If you are like me, the last thing you are looking for in a modern jazz album is another run-out cut of “All The Things You Are.” During my first listen of Hiroe Sekine’s debut album A-me, I found myself stopped in the middle of the street (I was walking the dog at the time), fumbling for my i-Pod, trying to find the name of the track I was listening… This is not your everyday “All The Things You Are.” This is different. This is what it means to put a new spin on an old tune.”

“… the one track I keep coming back to over and over again is her solo piano take on Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Good-Bye.” Stripped down and to-the-point, beautiful music always speaks for itself and this is no exception.
A-me is a solid album that will be on my playlist for some time to come. Tracks to listen to: “Minority,” “All The Things You Are,” “A-me,” and “Every Time We Say Good-Bye.” — Aaron Craven, Jazzreview.com

“A fresh, new voice on the piano!” — Dr. Brad Stone, KSJS-FM, San Jose

“On the first time out, Sekine seems to do everything right: performance, group interplay, composition and creative arrangements of standards.”-Pico, Somethingelse

“She is a refreshing gas. Hiroe takes timeless material and takes it to a new musical dimention.” -Chuck Workman, WICU-FM, Indianapolis

“Sekine refreshes and redefines “Minority” with a hip arrangement that serves as a springboard for fertile solos from Hiroe and her top drawer band members. Her original compositions display a sense of originality and maturity associated with artists well beyond her age.” -Gary G. Vercelli, Capital Public Radio, Sacramento

Japanese pianist Hiroe Sekine has been playing and arranging music in the United States for two decades, but she has just released her first album. One listen to ”A-mé” (rain) and you will wonder what took her so long. She is not only a brilliant pianist (as evidenced by her extended solo on “All The Things You Are”), she is also a wonderfully original arranger. Her album contains many standards, but among the finest tracks are her three compositions, the jaunty “Little Monster,” the little-big-band tour de force “Sand-Smog,” and the gorgeously evocative title tune. One indication of the respect she has garnered over years of working for others is the quality of musicians she recruited for her debut. Among the stellar players are Peter Erskine on drums; Bob McChesney, trombone; Bob Sheppard, sax; and Russell Ferrante, synthesizer. But none of them are needed for perhaps the most beautiful track on the album: a magnificent solo piano redition of Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” -Rochester City Newspaper

“Her compositions are beautifully arranged little pieces the likes of which you don’t hear everyday. She plays fine piano, never over-the-top…It’s a coming-out for a local talent very few of us are aware of.” -LA Weekly Music

“Hiroe Sekine is a remarkably talented young pianist, composer and arranger, and on her debut album she fronts a high-powered ensemble that includes drummer Peter Erskine and trombonist Bob McChesney, among others. Her style is discursive and often modal, but her arrangements are intricate, carefully crafted and sharply intelligent; they provide a solid structure for her own often adventurous soloing and that of her sidemen. A very impressive debut.” -CDHotList

“…A-mé is the very creative way she reharmonizes those familiar songs into something fresh and contemporary. Even if you’ve had your lifetime quotas for hearing these ubiquitous classics, in her hands they become something else entirely…It should also be noted that Sekine can write her own songs, too. When I first listened to her “Euclidan Moon,”, I had assumed that this urbane, nocturnal song was yet another imaginatively reworked standard, but this one is all hers.”

“Many jazz musicians pay lip service to breathing new life into old songs, but Hiroe Sekine is actually doing it. By exploiting this strength of hers and choosing a strong supporting cast, Sekine gets her recording career off on very solid footing.”
-Pico, SomethingElse.com

“Has anyone checked out this CD? This is how you put new legs on familiar material. Fantastic recording.” -Jae Sinnet,WHRV-FM in Norfolk, VA

“Hiromi has it going on but a lot of you write into say you feel there’s something missing amid the pyrotechnics. Maybe Sekine is what you are looking for. A Young Japanese jazz pianist, she has surrounded herself with the crème of the classic fusion cats for her debut and it all sounds like a stone cold natural without being dated or lighting fuses for the fun of it. In a psychic gulf that resides somewhere post-”Kind of Blue” and post-Weather Report”, this straight ahead meets fusion session delivers the goods in such quantity that failing smooth jazz stations should cast an ear in this direction. A sterling set that doesn’t let you down.”
-Mildwest Record

“Ms. Hiroe Sekine not only chooses her materials well (Frank Loesser’s If I Were a Bell, Cole Porter’s Every Time We Say Goodbye, and so on), arranging and elasticisizing them with class to spare…Sekine’s solo chopping the melody and progression into lightly angular sidelines recalling fragments of Corea’s transitions into the My Spanish Heart period.” -FAME review

“A-Mé translates to Rain,and also provide the cover art for the CD. It’s one of the most interesting of jazz interpretations of rain I’ve heard. Bob Sheppard takes the soprano sax lead on Hiroe’s Little Monster,and it’s nice that her tunes haven’t fallen into the Dorian modal bag that afflicts so much modern jazz. Nacimento’s Vera Cruz is given a highly original and exciting interpretation that apart from most Brazilian tune arrangements.”
-Audiophile Audition

“…A modern traditionalist well versed in the styles of Red Garland and Wynton Kelly, Sekine refreshes the jazz standard by Gigi Gryce, “Minority,” by darkening its melody and its dramatic possibilities, and she playfully juggles the time signiture on “There Is No Greater Love,” allowing both tunes to blossom anew. Her love and enjoyment in arranging jazz standards is obvious..Sekine more than holds her own among these established musicians, playing with zeal and swinging in style.” -Jazz In Space

“…Four original compositions complete this debut recording from a pianist who brings depth and musical color to her artistic canvas…” -Jazz Society of Oregon

“Hiroe Sekine, a native of Japan, has been composing, arranging and playing the piano for almost 20 years, but she has remained below the radar in the United States…I expect Sekine to make it big, and it’ll be fun to hear it happen.” -Ric Bang, Jazz Scan

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