Hwang has assembled a formidable quintet of past collaborators: Andrew Drury (drum set), Ken Filiano (bass), Chris Forbes (piano) and Steve Swell (trombone)... The tracks are all extended enthralling journeys...The energy here is impressive, with Hwang delivering a fantastic solo towards the end of the fourth minute. What is key here is how the track weaves in and around the boundary between the straight-ahead and the avant-garde... Brian Kiwanuka, The Free Jazz Collective Read Full Review
For Hwang, the typical habits of Western music—echoing a theme several times; a verse/chorus/verse format; and ordinary call and response—are less useful to what he wants to create. Instead, Hwang embraces discovery, active imagination and participatory spontaneity. He does so in full on four outspread pieces which have conflict and contrast, communication and creativity, and discordance and differentiation... the band cultivates slices of impulsive beauty, eccentrically diverse pacing and asymmetrical rhythm changes. There are liberated and unconventional solos, and in-the-moment acuity... Doug Simpson, Audiophile Read Full Review
Perhaps it’s too capacious a statement, but there probably isn’t a better equipped or adventurous American violinist-violist on the contemporary music scene than Jason Kao Hwang. And Sing House goes a long way to confirming this statement. - Ken Waxman, JazzWord Read Full Review
...the ensemble playing is excellent and the rhythm section really supports the soloists. In short, a really enjoyable record which will stand up to many playings. Highly recommended. Bernie Koenig, Cadence Magazine Read Full Review
Jason Kao Hwang isn’t the only violinist using his instrument in a context that relies equally on free improvisation and composition. But Sing House amply demonstrates the singular blend of passion and control he brings to the intersection. - Mike Shanley, Jazz Times Read Full Review
Violinist/violist Jason Kao Hwang’s new quintet comes out swinging on Sing House, a freebop anthology reflecting his tenures with Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill and other modern thinkers. The band features a frontline with trombone master Steve Swell and a rhythm section of Ken Filiano (bass), Chris Forbes (piano) and Andrew Drury (drums). - Robert Bush, The New York City Jazz Record Read Full Review
You can tell that all five members of this quintet have been working hard on bridging the ago between free and written sections since each flurry of activity or solo seamlessly flows into the next section... Jason Kao Hwang remains one of the most distinctive, creative and fascinating string players of all. His wonderful playing and well-crafted compositions are at the center of this great disc so grab this gem ASAP! - Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter, August 17, 2017 Read Full Review
Sharp versus continuous. Forgotten and abiding. Diatonic into toneless. Juxtaposition defines “Dream Walk,” a 12-minute spree from the violinist Jason Kao Hwang’s latest album, “Sing House,” due May 5. His quintet jostles from occasional moments of unison playing into wide-burning group improvisations. Like much in Mr. Hwang’s catalog, this stuff feels both intensely personal and oddly mythic. - Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times, April 28, 2017 Read Full Review
These cats just SMOKE on this track, and their “changes” are unbelievable!...An amazing set of high-end jazz improvisation that gets my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.
Dick Metcalf, Edtior, Contemporary Fusion Reviews, August 13, 2017 Read Full Review
Hwang's music provides just the right balance between structure and freedom, as illustrated vividly on these four well-crafted tracks...Hwang's leaps and flights are especially impressive, showcasing his superb dexterity while the band surges powerfully behind him...Much of the music turns on the rhythmic foundation provided by Filiano and Drury. They possess the finely-honed instincts of having played together for years, and the complexity of Hwang's compositions requires those instincts to be fully utilized...But to be sure, all five musicians work as an integrated unit, and that ultimately is the reason why the album succeeds.
- Troy Dostert, All About Jazz, July 11, 2017 Read Full Review
Due to the variety of moods, the brilliance of the musicians and the mixture of composition and improvisation, Sing House is a success. The music is never predictable and the journey passes through many unexpected areas. - Scott Yanow, Downbeat **** Read Full Review
Throughout this strong quintet outing, the participants show themselves to be agile and ever-responsive as they collectively give form to the intricacies of Hwang's compositional structures and thematic material. - Ron Schepper, Textura.com Read Full Review
Never gratuitous, this is wise avant music on the cutting edge, thriving with an unmitigated magnetism, rhythmic resourcefulness, and shimmering lyricism. - Felipe Freitas, Jazz Trail, June 22, 2017 Read Full Review
I can appreciate his position–jazz is one hundred years old. How can performers keep the genre new and relevant? “Sing House” is Hwang’s way of demonstrating just that....When the horns are heavy, and the drums take off into a run punctuated by cymbals, it is a triumph for experimental music. Jodie Miller-Gould, lemonwire.com, August 3, 2017 Read Full Review
...Hwang is a superb performer and he can extract unique sounds from his violin--buzzing insects, percussion, random machines...Hwang's approach to these four lengthy tracks (they range between 11:14 and 13:55) is a headlong critique of western concepts of "theme and reiteration." These original compositions are designed, in fact, to challenge the listener in unusual ways--melodies delivered in unusual intervals, strange call-and-response patterns and an endless array of musical textures. The energy levels throughout the album are disjointed in a fascinating way, since there are moments of genuine and familiar melody.
- Marc Phillips, thevinylanachronist.blogspot.com Read Full Review
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...It’s this kind of daring that makes a Hwang album so thrilling—that sense of sharp intelligence and creative courage. The Best Jazz on Bandcamp, May 2017 Read Full Review
5/5 stars: Jason Kao Hwang is a unique artist. He is a composer and an conductor and violinist and he is one of the frontrunners in creative jazz. His technique focuses on improvisation and not only as a performer, but also as a composer. With the talent he holds he could easily branch into the Classical Music field - and actually that is exactly what he has accomplished: he melds the jazz idiom with classical music structure and creates works such as this SING HOUSE.
- Grady Harp, Amazon.com Read Full Review
Each piece has its own mood, and while the music is quite free and spontaneous in its feel and delivery, there are definite moments of unity and forethought...Outside, but also looking in. - George W. Harris, jazz weekly.com Read Full Review
The ensemble (Hwang, violin; Steve Swell, trombone; Chris Forbes, piano; Ken Filiano, bass; and Andrew Drury, drums) were masters at subtly building intensity, with pieces climaxing in creative sonic eruptions.
- Ed Berger, Jazz Times. July 14, 2015 Read Full Review
The range of New Jersey violinist Jason Kao Hwang’s composing and playing is remarkable.
- James Heflin, Valley Advocate, January 28, 2015 Read Full Article