JASON KAO HWANG BURNING BRIDGE with STEVE SWELL / TAYLOR HO BYNUM / JOSEPH DALEY / SUN LI / WANG GUOWEI / KEN FILIANO / ANDREW DRURY - Blood (True Sound 01; USA) Featuring Jason Kao Hwand on violin & compositions, Steve Swell on trombone, Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet & flugelhorn, Joseph Daley on tuba, Sun Li on pipa, Wang Guowei on erhu, Ken Filiano on contrabass and Andrew Drury on concert percussion. The is the second disc from Downtown Master violinist & composer, Jason Kao Hwang and his East/West octet, Burning Bridge. I’ve caught this ensemble on a couple of occasions and have dug the way they seamlessly blend several cultures and genres. The title of this disc, “Blood”, refers to the liquid life-force that flows through all of our bodies and the way the flow of music here tries to defy humanity’s constant state of war. This work consists of an continuous five part suite, which evolves slowly and carefully. The first part features haunting layers of brass, strings and percussion, which build from somber to more agitated, the intensity level erupting to a quick conclusion before the violin, erhu (Chinese violin) and pipa take over. The violin and/or erhu most often play the central theme here with varied interplay from the pipa, cornet or trombone, weaving another layer of engaging tapestry. One of things that stands out here is Mr. Hwang’s write for the entire ensemble, which blends chamber and small orchestral streams with ethnic and avant-jazz influences. There is section here which embraces some bluesy/somewhat funky playing which is most uplifting and rather unexpected. Towards the later part of this disc, I was reminded of that Mahavishnu/Shakti like East meets west vibe that many of us recall with welcoming spirits being set free. It is works like this which inspire us to have a more world-like view of blending disparate cultures into a seamless organic flow. Amen. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, 11/2/18 newsletter    See Newsletter
CD $14