Jason Kao Hwang/EDGE, Crossroads Unseen
By Thurston Hunger
KFJC Radio, Oct. 2, 2011
Third release by this rising jazz quartet, led by string theorist of violin and viola, Jason Kao Hwang. His compositions leave lots of room for stellar solo and duo action. The middle three taking a more leisurely route through multiple points, the end pieces catching speed on the corners. Those end cuts also summon a kind of Malachi Favors secret funk sauce from bassist Ken Filiano. Definitely dig when Hwang and Filiano affiliate for some bowed tension, like the title cut’s intro,where Taylor Ho Bynum also drops into throaty, breathy, lizard-puffed cornet into the brew. Andrew Drury drums are anything but dreary, they give this album a lot of drama. This does not feel like quaint chamber jazz, but high octane stuff at all times. The violin is made for this, can change timbre and attack as well as a sax, but still can fly a folksy feel a la Billy Bang. Hwang and Bynum sound great here, apart and often united on these quick note-for-note tightrope sections. Really good, guarantee this one will be summoned for future KFJC plays in years to come.
- KFJC Radio, Thurston Hunger, KFJC Radio, October 2, 2011