Crossover: Jazz and Classical idioms married, Crossroads Unseen
By Grady Harp
amazon.com, Oct. 3, 2011
Jason Kao Hwang (born 1957 in Waukegan, Illinois) is a Chinese American violinist and composer. A versatile performer, Hwang focuses primarily on jazz and improvised musics, and has a particular interest in cross-cultural projects. He has been associated with the Asian American jazz movement and has performed (on violin, electric violin, and electronics). Hwang is a founding member of The Far East Side Band, an intercultural ensemble combining Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and American musical elements. He has composed the scores for numerous films and has also worked in the field of commercial music. He was in the original cast of the Broadway production of M. Butterfly, performing music he co-arranged for that production; he later toured with the national productions as a music director. Hwang has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, the Greenwall Foundation, the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust for his opera Immigrant of the Womb. His chamber opera 'The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown' premiered in 2001. According to the composer/performer EDGE 'is my jazz quartet featuring Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet, flugelhorn), Andrew Drury (drum kit), Ken Filiano (string bass) and myself (composer, violin). Nested in the urban mountains of New York City, EDGE embraces both past and future with musical tales celebrating life and loss. Their instruments, resonant with human and animal overtones, sing through sharp lines vibrating between histories, cultures and genres.' He goes on to discuss this album, 'For Crossroads Unseen, each composition is a language of vibrations that accrues into the energy and masses of an emotive landscape. Improvisations cross this primal land confronting life and death rhythmically, as sounds are born and pass away unceasing. Throughout these life cycles, the edge shifts between cultures and genres as individual vibrations tune into the whole sound of the land. The quest is towards full resonance , a journey that is purifying and transformative.' Stepping away from the words of what this recording states is its purpose is the act of sitting and absorbing all the strange and ultimately passionate beauty that Hwang and his Edge. Few composers and performers can produce the spectrum of sound each of the instruments contains as well as these gifted musicians. These are not songs, these are experiences, and they demand full attention both for the sake of releasing stipulations on what music is all about, and also for paying attention to where creative jazz/classical/world music can go.
- Grady Harp, amazon.com, October 3, 2011