Album Review

Hwang, Jason Kao / Edge – “Crossroads Unseen” – [Euonymous Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/2/2011   CD, Jazz

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 Bily 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.

Thurston Hunger

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