REVIEWS OF BLOOD

Tom Hull selects Blood as one of the best recordings of 2018.  Read his list

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   Read full review

... string parts swirling around Taylor Ho Bynum’s graceful, kinetic cornet, and if Hwang’s violin solo impresses with calculated flying spiccato then so do Li’s crunching strums with a blues sensibility closer to the Mississippi river than the Yangtze. ... not only does Daley confirm his breath control as he matter-of-factly slides from basso-like to sopranino-like tones, but the composition’s uniqueness is confirmed when Hwang’s bluesy sweeps and Swell’s plunger yelps erupt from within a sequence that emphasizes string stretches from the traditional Chinese instruments. - Ken Waxman, The Whole Note    Read Full Review

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

(Google Translation from Italian) The music proceeds with moments inspired by the avant-garde but also with swing, as in Evolution, in which Hwang shows all its value in a passion-rich solo. Chinese instruments find their way to integration with western music along with Filiano's double bass and percussion, everything sounds engaging, beyond their respective traditions. It closes with the dramatic atmospheres of Declarations and the intertwining of stringed instruments, it is a communicative avant-garde with clear ideas. Very interesting record. 

- Music Zoom, musiczoom.it    Read Full Review