5

Jason Kao Hwang: Burning Bridge

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Kao Hwang: Burning Bridge 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 amid drawling choruses, semi-structured detours and oriental overtones, largely due to Wang Guowei's use of the erhu, a Chinese bowed, two-stringed instrument. This musical facet is complemented by Sun Li's four-stringed pipa performances, resulting in an ensemble that portrays a world without borders. Timber and episodic theme-building are sometimes offset by Ken Filiano's arcing bass lines, as the band occasionally executes its course with bottom-up engineering mechanisms. And various movements are punctuated with jazzy blues motifs and other patterns that denote a medium-tempo roller coaster ride.

"Worship, Whirling" surfaces as a feverish religious ceremony of sorts as drummer Andrew Drury bashes his kit early on, perhaps exorcising the demons, followed by lissome interludes and sounds of the Orient. Here, a sense of wonderment prevails, but trombonist Steve Swell elevates the pitch with his brash and wily solo, establishing a new path for the soloists' fluid developments, teeming with congenial mayhem, pathos, and melodic undertones. The band often shifts the tide and toggles between introspective panoramas, off-center cadences and emotive free flights. Hwang also injects the microtonal component into the mix to produce a vibe based on self-interrogation.

The program boasts a procession of cutting-edge frameworks, abetted by Hwang's trickling and angular voicings, with tubaist Joseph Daley frequently injecting massive doses of power into key spots through his passionate dialogues with the frontline. Burning Bridge is a monumental endeavor, foretelling that often unattainable synchronization within modern era avant-garde vistas where calamity, harmonious accord, and mind-altering improvisation seem to be in alignment with the heavens.

Track Listing: Ashes, Essence; Worship, Whirling; Fiery, Far Away; Incense, In Sense; Ocean, O Sun.

Personnel: Jason Kao Hwang: composer, violin; Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn; Joseph Daley: tuba; Andrew Drury: drum set; Ken Filiano: string bass; Sun Li: pipa; Steve Swell: trombone; Wang Guowei: erhu.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Innova Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Eastern Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Eastern Smiles
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC" CD/LP/Track Review Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Sweet Ruby Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Sweet Ruby Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "One Minute Later" CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!