26

Jason Kao Hwang / Ayman Fanous: Zilzal

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Kao Hwang / Ayman Fanous: Zilzal 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 free jazz techniques. He has performed in duos with bassist William Parker, guitarist Joe Morris and cellist Tomas Ulrich and his performing history with Hwang that dates back fifteen years.

The album opens with a piece that only nominally sets the tone for what follows. "Nilometer at Roda," while non-traditional from world or jazz music perspectives, is melodic and harmonious at its core. Melody is not extraneous on Zilzal but improvisation is the overriding approach as the program goes forward. Three relatively brief pieces make up a partially detached suite, "DNA: Untranslated," "DNA: Messenger," "DNA: Binding Sights" and they are more representative of the album's themes. These brief sections are free-ranging explorations that fluctuate between soothing passages, recurring pulses and nondescript tones. Like all the selections on Zilzal this is thoughtful modern music not easily positioned in a genre.

The title track demonstrates Fanous's skill at merging flamenco and free improvisation. Hwang's viola races over the guitar at breakneck speed before both musicians slow the tempo a bit. Tempo variations also proliferate on "Mausoleum of Beybars the Crossbowman" which opens to a striking middle-eastern melody from Fanous's bouzouki. The violin quickly elevates and sustains the pace though the complex piece closes more resembling a lullaby. Similarly, "Lapwing" is full of abstractions and abruptly divergent dynamics that demand close attention.

Framed by beautifully rendered opening and closing works, Zilzal is an impressive and multifaceted collection. Unhurried and atmospheric at times, feverish at others, it is a cross-cultural experience through uncharted territory. As such, it is best engaged as a holistic experience free of fixed expectations.

Track Listing: Nilometer at Roda; DNA: Untranslated; DNA: Messenger, the Message; Zilzal; Mausoleum of Beybars the Crossbowman; DNA: Binding Sights; Lapwing; Darb al-Arbaeen; Tree of the Virgin at Matariya.

Personnel: Ayman Fanous: guitar (2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8), bouzouki (1, 5, 9); Jason Kao Hwang: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 9), viola (1, 4, 6, 8).

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Innova Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana CD/LP/Track Review Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 22, 2017
Read Glare of the Tiger CD/LP/Track Review Glare of the Tiger
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2017
Read From Two Balconies CD/LP/Track Review From Two Balconies
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "A Dark and Stormy Day" CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Allison Philips Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Allison Philips Trio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Persuasion" CD/LP/Track Review Persuasion
by Jeff Winbush
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Long After Midnight" CD/LP/Track Review Long After Midnight
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "Electric Ascension" CD/LP/Track Review Electric Ascension
by John Sharpe
Published: October 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!