Jason Kao Hwang/Burning Bridge,
Review by Grady Harp
amazon.com, November 6, 2012
Jason Kao Hwang continues to explore the intersections of classical music, jazz, and traditional Chinese music in this five-part composition BURNING BRIDGE. The work reflects the impact of Hwang's mother's death in 2009 and in many ways the motif upon which each section is based is a remembrance of his mother's speech patterns, her Chinese cultural ties as well as her singing of Christian hymns.
Hwang admixes contemporary instrumental writing for instruments well known to jazz with Chinese instruments and sounds and the result is a strangely haunting creation that feels as though we are exploring unknown territory. `Burning Bridge, composed upon a Burning Bridge, consumes temporal illusions while enveloping the concurrence of life and death. Here the tinder of history and culture feed flames that vibrate within the core of both instinct and identity. The fire, often ignored, has always existed, with bridges burning each moment of our ever-changing lives.'
Jason Kao Hwang is a unique artist. He is a composer and a conductor and violinist and he is one of the frontrunners in creative jazz. His technique focuses on improvisation and not only as a performer, but also as a composer. With the talent he holds he could easily branch into the Classical Music field - and actually that is exactly what he has accomplished: he melds the jazz idiom with classical music structure and the result is an experience wholly and refreshingly new.
Members of his ensemble are Hwang, composer and violin, Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet and flugelhorn, Andrew Drury, drum set, Ken Filiano, string bass, Joseph Daley, tube, Sun Li, pipa, Steve Swell, trombone and Wang Guowei, erhu. This recording is another phenomenal achievement by this gifted composer and violinist.
- Amazon, Grady Harp - November 6, 2012