The breadth of influences that composer Jason Kao Hwang is able to call upon, and his willingness to leave wide open spaces within compositions for improvising, strikes the perfect balance between meticulous planning and breathless spontaneity. His newest, Sing House, falls in line with past experiments. “No Such Thing” provides ample, immediate evidence of that push-and-pull, with its turbulent bursts of avant-garde dissonance suddenly settling into joyful expressions of the blues. “Dream Walk” is a panoramic view of a host of musical forms, never fully adopting a single one, always sounding on the verge of phasing into another altogether. “When What Could” takes the opposite approach, allowing jazz forms to manifest with a charged immediacy, while leaving the transitions between each expression a bit fuzzy. It’s this kind of daring that makes a Hwang album so thrilling—that sense of sharp intelligence and creative courage. On his newest, the violinist-violist is joined by drummer Andrew Drury, bassist Ken Filiano, pianist Chris Forbes, and trombonist Steve Swell.
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