Jason Kao Hwang & Karl Berger: Conjure

Mike Jurkovic By

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There is an adventurer's appeal when two free thinkers just pick up mid-stream and let the river carry them. Without label or structure constraint, life-preservers and the chronic happenstance which bars so many back from reaching beyond themselves, music emerges shaded by emotional time, humor, awareness, and mutual respect for each other's untapped potential.

So we have Conjure, a meeting of the minds of eighty-four year old vibraphonist/pianist Karl Berger (from the free school of Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, John McLaughlin) and sixty-ish violinist/composer Jason Kao Hwang excavating and illuminating the shadows, corners, and recesses of the muse. Sparse yet harmonically rich with particle melodies which shimmer in and out of mid-air existence, the duo form restless, hypnotic, and meditative moments which coalesce into a totally immersive whole. On "Prophecy" Hwang's elongated lines massage Berger's increasingly sharp, jutting passages. Berger leads "Silhouettes," his sense of miniature begging Hwang to tell the longer tale. To which Hwang grandly obliges.

Other vapor-like free radicals include "Beyond Reach," "Vanishing Roots," (Hwang's viola pizzicato falling like warm rain) and Conjure's longest track, the slow, modulated curve of "Water Finds Water." It's all about head-space, air-space, and the space between two like-minders in mid-stream, the stream opening to the river and the river to the ocean without restraint, the new morning sky meeting the music, hovering.

Track Listing

Prophecy; Silouettes; Beyond Reach; Vanishing Roots; Faith; Below Zero; Water Finds Water; Arise.


Jason Kao Hwang: violin and viola; Karl Berger: piano and vibraphone.

Album information

Title: Conjure | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Flying Panda Music



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