KARL BERGER / JASON KAO HWANG - Conjure (True Sound TS 02; USA) Featuring Karl Berger on vibes & piano and Jason Kao Hwang on violin & viola. Both of these men are longtime veterans, distinguished musicians, composers and ensemble leaders. Mr. Berger founded the Creative Music Studio/School in Woodstock around 50 years ago and it still exists today! Over the last decade, Mr. Berger has been concentrating on the CMS archives, as well as recording more often. Check his solo efforts on Tzadik and duo efforts with Ivo Perelman, Kirk Knuffke and Omar Tamez. Mr. Hwang seems to take his time with releasing discs as a leader, with just one discs every year or two. He has also been collaborating with a diverse cast: Steve Swell, William Hooker and Taylor Ho Bynum.
This duo discs was recorded at Sertso Studios in Woodstock in March of 20914. With four instruments to choose from, each piece features slightly different instrumentation. The sound is superb, warm, clear, exquisite, spacious, carefully crafted. Time slows down as we listen, the duo quietly weaving fragments of melodies or lines, the element of suspense keeps us at the edge of our seats. There seems to be some sort of bond which connects these two musicians, a cautious dialogue is going on, as one starts a sentence, the other finishes it, both breathing together, in a similar organic flow or stream. It sounds as if Mr. Berger is playing occasional lines from some ancient sonata while Mr. Hwang plucks pizzicato notes or bows gracefully, both in sync on the same page together. An excellent offering on all fronts. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG Read at downtownmusicgallery.org