5.0 out of 5 stars 
‘Music as a meta-language of memories’ 
October 30, 2018 
Format: MP3 Music 
Grady Harp, October 18, AMAZON 


Jason Kao Hwang is a unique artist. He is a composer and a 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 BLOOD. 

As Jason states, ‘Driving down on an unlit highway, my headlights flashed upon a bleeding deer carcass. My heart rate thundered and lungs exploded as I swerved away, narrowly avoiding a collision. This shock made me reflect upon my mother’s harrowing experiences in China during World War II. While in a Changsha pharmacy she was knocked unconscious by a Japanese bomb. She awoke as the lone survivor surrounded by the dead. I also thought about Butch Morris and Billy Bang, musicians I’ve worked with who fought in Viet Nam. The magnitude of sorrow that they endured is unimaginable. Blood meditates upon the emotional traumas of war retained within the body as unspoken vibrations that reverberate throughout communities and across generations. Through Blood the violence of deeply held memories are not relived but transposed into our sound. Blood in our sound rises within our song. Extreme danger triggers powerful forces of “fight or flight”. This conflict can produce an immobility response, which penetrates and remains within the body as emotional trauma. Similarly, when a bomb explodes, there is blast wave outward that leaves a near vacuum in its wake. This is filled by an equally deadly blast wind in the opposite direction. Within an explosion, Blood was created.’ 

The ensemble is Jason Kao Hwang – composer, violin, viola, Joseph Daley – tuba, Taylor Ho Bynum – cornet/flugelhorn, Andrew Drury – drum set, Ken Filiano – string bass, Sun Li – pipa, Wang Guowei – erhu, and Steve Swell – trombone. 

The tracks are Breath with the Bomb, Surge Part 1, Surge Part 2, Evolution, and Declarations 

An uncompromising vision as it is challenging. Fine artistry on every count. 


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