Jason Kao Hwang leads the Far East Side Band, an Asian jazz band that brings new meaning to East meets West." He had his first taste of improvisation in a jazz ensemble class at New York University taught by Jimmy Giuffre, who had performed with Woody Herman. After that, he built upon his classical technique during jam sessions in the loft scene in lower Manhattan, where a great deal of experimentation was going on during the late 1970's. Jamming with artists like Butch Morris, Billy Bang, and William Parker, who all considered chord changes a European vestige, Hwang was introduced to a textural, rhythmic approach to improvisation. I didn't have a grand plan as an improvising violinist," Hwang says. I built my vocabulary instinctually." Inspired by the inflection and tones embodied in language, Hwang has developed an incredibly original philosophy and approach to improvisation on violin. Classical training is a process of socialization, and the development of technique is actually a process of acculturation. The danger for the creative artist is that you train yourself into a blindness to individual sound. Once artists separate themselves from that socialization process, they can pursue their own sound. It takes time to create a personal voice on your instrument; no one can give that to you."
- Julie Lyons Lieberman, Strings, August 31, 1996