All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

245

Jason Kao Hwang / Edge: Stories Before Within

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Stories Before Within is the second album from violinist Jason Kao Hwang's three-year-old ensemble, Edge. Their self-titled debut for Asian Improv Records was one of 2006's sleeper hits, a record brimming with stirring melodies, unorthodox arrangements and stunning group interplay. No less imaginative, their follow-up blends Eastern and Western traditions with even greater conviction.

Joined again by cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Andrew Drury, Hwang and company venture even further into Asiatic sonorities, exploring a wide array of stylistic variations over the course of these five long-form pieces.

Inspired by a Ukrainian street festival, "Cloud Call" opens the album with swirling counterpoint and dynamic shifts in tempo and pitch. Hwang's keening violin sings with a folksy tone as Bynum's elusive cornet escalates from fragmented, expressive cries to raspy flurries. Filiano's bowed bass resonates with sinewy verve, while Drury sketches between the lines with scintillating percussion.

"From East Sixth Street" invokes historical jazz traditions culled from the Lower East Side neighborhood that has been home to generations of improvisers, including Hwang. A swaggering pulse and funky, angular line knits the present to the past with expressive brio. Bynum's splintery brass fragments introduce robust glissandos and piercing harmonics from Hwang and Filiano, as they ascend the orchestral palpitations of Drury's multi-hued drum kit.

"Walking Pictures" deconstructs a strutting blues vamp, channeling primal soul into ethereal vespers. Ghostly ruminations yield zealous testimonials and pliant swing as the quartet alternates between austere introspection and kaleidoscopic drama.

A majestic fanfare sets the stage for the stately "Third Sight," as Hwang and Bynum careen over a propulsive vamp embroiled in vivacious discourse. Abruptly switching gears, Drury and Filiano submit their own lyrical soliloquies before the exuberant reprise.

Closing the album on a bittersweet note, "Embers" unfolds with languid, neo-classical restraint as each member contributes heartfelt variations on a plangent melody.

Another brilliant collection of forward-thinking compositions from Hwang, Stories Before Within offers a rich blend of jazz and chamber music that seamlessly merges Eastern and Western traditions into a singular, global hybrid.


Track Listing: Cloud Call; From East Sixth Street; Walking Pictures; Third Sight; Embers.

Personnel: Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet; Andrew Drury: drum set; Ken Filiano: string bass; Jason Kao Hwang: composer, violin, viola (track 3).

Title: Stories Before Within | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Innova Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
My Favourite Things
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Sing House

Sing House

Euonymus Records
2017

buy
Zilzal

Zilzal

Innova Recordings
2014

buy
Burning Bridge

Burning Bridge

Innova Recordings
2013

buy
Burning Bridge

Burning Bridge

Innova Recordings
2012

buy
Crossroads Unseen

Crossroads Unseen

Euonymus Records
2011

buy
Stories Before Within

Stories Before Within

Innova Recordings
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Vol II CD/LP/Track Review
Vol II
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Months, Weeks and Days CD/LP/Track Review
Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Space Is The Place CD/LP/Track Review
Space Is The Place
by James Fleming
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Poetry in Motion CD/LP/Track Review
Poetry in Motion
by Liz Goodwin
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read "Combsy" CD/LP/Track Review Combsy
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Moment Frozen" CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Icaros" CD/LP/Track Review Icaros
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds" CD/LP/Track Review Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Carry Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Dialectrical" CD/LP/Track Review Dialectrical
by John Sharpe
Published: June 19, 2017