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 World Domination Vol 1: Furie CD/LP/Track Review
World Domination Vol 1: Furie
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review
20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Frank Salis CD/LP/Track Review
Frank Salis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Live! CD/LP/Track Review
Live!
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 19, 2018
Read My Favorite Things(1960-1969) CD/LP/Track Review
My Favorite Things(1960-1969)
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 19, 2018
Read The Acadian Orogeny CD/LP/Track Review
The Acadian Orogeny
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 19, 2018
Read "VISIONS: Coast to Coast Connection" CD/LP/Track Review VISIONS: Coast to Coast Connection
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Day After Day" CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "FABEL" CD/LP/Track Review FABEL
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 12, 2018
Read "Theirs" CD/LP/Track Review Theirs
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2018
Read "Grey Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Grey Mirror
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Fukushima" CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 1, 2017