Jason Kao Hwang/Burning Bridge,
Review by Grego Applegate Edwards for Gapplegate Music Reviews
Jason Hao Kwang has been producing some excellent music lately, music that combines many influences but comes across as Hwang music, things that combine new concert music sounds and those of avant jazz, and here, on Burning Bridge (Innova 840), classical Asia and all of that together.
The ensemble consists of Hwang on violin, Taylor Ho Bynam on cornet/fluegel, Joseph Daley on tuba, Andrew Drury on drum set, Ken Filiano on contrabass, Son Li on pipa (Chinese lute), Steve Swell on trombone, and Wang Guowei on the erhu (Chinese bowed instrument).
The results are thoroughly convincing, conceptually strong and filled with excellent music, excellently performed.
What is reaffirming as well as a little startling is how well the music fits together. It comes across as whole, and significantly so at that. It's avant, free, composed, pan-ethnic (we are all ethnic after all) and completely inimitable. The improvisations are right there, what you'd expect from such a distinguished crowd, and the music is right there too, all a product of the "Hwang vision," so to speak.
I won't try and describe it further. Tabula rasa is never quite rasa, a new page connects with previous ones, and so Jason's music is both in a continuum and the interruption of that continuum. Bravo and may Jason Kao Hwang continue indefinitely into infinity!
- Gapplegate Music Review, Grego Applegate Edwards - February 8, 2013