REVIEWS OF BLOOD

The result is a complex, but gripping, continuous ensemble performance of what the liner notes call "28 staged scenes," tracked in five sections… Sudden unisons, processional marches, fiercely swinging passages and improvisatory features for the band loom from Hwang's carefully-scored explorations of texture. Both the instrumentation and the material unite west and east, reflecting Hwang's Asian American heritage. - John Sharpe, All About Jazz    Read Full Review

 Where else than a Jason Kao Hwang recording would you encounter a furious throwdown between erhu, pipa, trombone, and violin? However unusual the soundworld might appear, it's business as usual for Hwang, whose eight-member Burning Bridge (in operation since 2009) tears into Blood's five parts like rabid dogs....Blood isn't an unscripted free jazz recording but rather an uncompromising, five-act creation comprised of twenty-eight scenes. Still, however through-composed it is, the set plays like an emergent force of nature with a will of its own...Hwang draws on the liberating spirit of jazz whilst also grounding the performances in defined structures.  - Ron Schepper, Textura.com  Read Full Review

Violinist, composer Jason Kao Hwang and many of his band-mates are among the leading exponents of the new jazz, where disparate genres coalesce, often in seamless fashion to nurture our imaginative inclinations in such a way that standard idioms and classifications go by the wayside… And Daley aims for the stars during his fierce, super-speed solo on "Declarations," underscored by Hwang's twirling lines and the ensemble's impassioned statements and simmering narratives. Overall, it's a striking presentation that may take two or three listens to fully digest. - Glen Astarita, All About Jazz   Read Full Review

 …the impassioned interactions among unorthodox instrumental combinations demonstrate how a collective ideology can transcend apparent differences… By varying arrangements, Hwang implies an array of cinematic scenarios that equate with different states of mind. While many artists would compose a finale of harmonic resolution, Hwang remains steadfast, driving the point home by sonically suggesting that the lingering effects of violence never abate, nor serve any greater purpose. If there is any hope to be found here, it is in the perseverance of the human spirit. - Troy Collins, Point of Departure   Read Full Review

Blood is highly original, drawing on sophisticated arrangements that fuse Eastern and Western elements… The results are exhilarating… Hwang is an ever-present influence, whether through his magisterial writing or gorgeous violin. - Steven Loewy, New York City Jazz Record  Read Full Review

The fifth and final act is the nearly ten-minute “Declarations,” which amplifies the first act’s resonant low-tinged noise by means of bass and tuba solos accentuated by strings, then Daley’s meditative tuba improvisation, followed by Hwang’s equally poignant violin, and a closing ensemble affirmation which functions as an appeal for peace. There may never be an effective pathway to counteract violence, but musical conceptions such Jason Kao Hwang/Burning Bridge’s Blood are a way to remember, observe and never forget. - Doug Simpson, Audiofile Audition   Read Full Review

…it is with the Burning Bridge octet that Hwang has probably reached the maximum of his aspirations and conceptions: three months ago the second recording of the Burning Bridge was released, entitled Blood, an incredibly compelling summa of instruments that play jazz, classic or traditional Chinese; pipa and erhu (Sun Li and Wang Guowei) are used against tuba, trombone, trumpet (Joseph Daley, Steve Swell, Taylor Ho Bynum) and the usual low-battery rhythmic plant (Filiano-Drury) and the improvisation releases a perfect balanced climate, with so much energy and resourcefulness on the part of all the soloists. - Ettore Garzia,  Percorsi Musicali  (google translation from Italian) Read Full Review

The mix of Western and Eastern instruments, some heroic soloing (including from violinist Hwang), the mood variations, the consistent creativity of the musicians, and the unpredictable frameworks make Blood a rewarding set for those with open ears.  Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene, March issue  Read Full Review

***** 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...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... An uncompromising vision as it is challenging. Fine artistry on every count. Grady Harp, Amazon, Oct. 18, 2018  Read Full Review

...Hwang is one of the interesting voices in the creative spot that, after all, remains the New Yorker's Lower East Side... In "Blood," the originality of the compositions, coupled with the inventiveness of improvised interactions (usually duos or trios of variable constitution) shows that a collective design rises to give coherence to the hybrid sound of formation from which emerge sudden changes of direction, variations in thickness of the arrangements and intricate timbral games. - António Branco. jazz.pt  Read Full Review