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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Kao Hwang / Ayman Fanous: Zilzal

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The music forged by Egyptian guitarist/bouzouki player Ayman Fanous and violinist/violist Jason Kao Hwang is alternately thoughtful, prickly, exasperating, mournful, and enchanting. It speaks to mysteries and histories, capturing and refracting the shared language, cross-cultural references, and mystic vibes that these two men have been cultivating and exploring together for fifteen years. “Zilzal" is the Arabic word for “earthquake," but the music on Zilzal doesn't always rumble and rupture the ground. Peaceful prayers ("Nilometer At Roda") can lead to moments of uncertainty ("DNA: Untranslated" and “DNA: Messenger, The Message"), and storms sometimes part at the last second ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Kao Hwang / Ayman Fanous: Zilzal

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The duo release--Zilzal--further defines the evolution of two master musician/composers pursing the most imaginative alternatives to the status quo. In recent years, the inventive violinist/violist Jason Kao Hwang has been fully invested in exploring diverse compositional territories. His Burning Bridge octet is now firmly entrenched as a bellwether of genre-defying modern music with a distinct jazz accent. He has travelled the worlds of opera, classical and free jazz with equal passion, crossing traditional barriers and pushing against customary musical confines. Egyptian-born Ayman Fanous has honed distinctive and unconventional methods on both guitar and bouzouki managing to synergize classical, flamenco and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Kao Hwang: Burning Bridge

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In recent years, avant-garde music has had no more an effective champion than composer/violinist Jason Kao Hwang. With his longstanding quartet EDGE and three additional players, Burning Bridge extends and broadens Hwang's forward-thinking approach to composition and style. Where his brilliant collection, Crossroads Unseen (Euonymus Records, 2011), referenced subdued Asian-influences, Burning Bridge features a somewhat more pronounced cultural touch. Sun Li's pipa--a lute-like Chinese instrument that dates back two millennia--and Wang Guowei's erhu (a Chinese two-stringed violin) add distinctive traditional voices to the jazz and classical elements at work here.“Ashes, Essence" opens with the harmony between the pipa ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Kao Hwang: Burning Bridge

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Featuring the members of his quartet EDGE, violinist Jason Kao Hwang slashes through preconceived perimeters and bridges a cultural gap via his thoroughly modern vision on this concentrated effort, sparking innovation from a 360-degree stance. The complex premise for these intersecting works emanates from the passing of his mother, his Chinese heritage and life's experiences, all amalgamated into an album that breathes life anew. Dissonance and unorthodox phrasings opaquely coalesce with Hwang's thick staccato phrasings and sophisticated risk-taking approach, where solemn strings and horns passages segue into avant-like expansionism. The moving parts ring in an air of anticipation ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Kao Hwang / EDGE: Crossroads Unseen

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Crossroads Unseen is violinist Jason Kao Hwang's third release with his all-star ensemble, EDGE, following Stories Before Within (Innova, 2007) and its 2006 self-titled debut (Asian Improv). Exploring uncharted territory between chamber music, jazz improvisation and traditional East Asian forms, EDGE boasts some of New York City's finest improvisers, including stalwart contrabassist Ken Filiano, rising cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and undersung percussionist Andrew Drury.For many Asian-American artists, incorporating traditions from cultures outside the Afro-European Diaspora has become one of creative improvised music's most pertinent challenges. Accommodating Pan-Asian micro-tonality, untempered scales and non-metered rhythms has intrigued jazz improvisers since ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Kao Hwang / EDGE: Crossroads Unseen

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Composer/violinist, Jason Kao Hwang has been firmly establishing his credentials in free jazz since his quartet, EDGE, released its self-titled debut (Asian Improv, 2006). His résumé includes work with genre luminaries William Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Henry Threadgill. There are inevitable comparisons to Billy Bang, with whom Hwang has also played, but the two masters typically utilize a different line of development. Crossroads Unseen features the original EDGE personnel, a stellar line up of free jazz veterans, in outstanding performances of five long, riveting Hwang compositions. It's clear from the opening “Elemental Determination" that Hwang is not aiming ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vision Festival 2010 - Opening Night

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Prologue | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 Opening Invocation, The Blues Escaped, Stomp It, Rob Brown New Quartet, Broken Flowers, In Order To SurviveVision FestivalAbrons Arts Center23 June 2010 After three days of activity across various downtown venues, the Vision Festival returned to the well-appointed Abrons Arts Center for the core part of the proceedings. Everything a small festival might need was on hand. Main theater with comfortable seating and air conditioning? Check. Smaller performance area which increases ...



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