Tom Hull, Best Jazz CDs of 2023. Read Full Review

Troy Collins, Top Ten Jazz CDs of 2023. Read post

Two members of Hwang’s first band, the Commitment quartet, are remembered in Friends Forever, a mournful but plaintive ballad on which violin wah-wahs the long-breathed theme with the ever-tasteful guitar of Anders Nilsson and the ever-resourceful drumming of Michael T.A.Thompson linking arms.  - NIgel Jarrett, Jazz Journal. Read Full Review 

Best Jazz on Bandcamp, July, 2023: Book of Stories is arresting, captivating, and, at times, massively thrilling. Jason Kao Hwang’s trio with electric guitarist Anders Nilsson and drummer Michael T.A. Thompson dives into an adventurous fusion session where the musical influences never sit still... - Dave Sumner, Bandcamp Read Full Review

With the leader and guitarist emoting open-heartedly, the closing ballad “Friends Forever” honours the memory of two members of Hwang's first band, the collective quartet Commitment, but Book of Stories is no exercise in nostalgia. Without denying the influence of earlier times, the members of Critical Response are fully engaged in what's happening now and primed for whatever's on the horizon. - Ron Schepper,   Read Full Review

Jason Kao Hwang confines himself to the electric violin on Book of Stories by his Critical response trio, completed by Anders Nilsson (electric guitar) and michael t.A. thompson (drums), which might suggest an orientation toward jazz fusion. but the only fusion here is of diverse stylistic influences into an expansive personal vision. the familiar attributes of any date by Hwang stand present and true: finely crafted compositions, expressive bowing and an orchestral palette, even though there are only three participants. - John Sharpe, NYC Jazz Record.  Read Full Review

Mixing fragility with function, the three create an alternate program where melodicism doesn’t hold back mettle.  Ken Waxman, Read Full Review

Violinist Jason Kao Hwang goes into power trio formation here alongside guitarist Anders Nilsson and drummer Michael T.A. Thompson. The resulting music is intense but also makes good use of tempo and volume dynamics. "The Power of Many in the Soul of One" has periods of quiet rumblings amidst aggressive guitar and violin slashing that invariably suggests the Mahavishnu Orchestra.  Jerome Wilson, All About Jazz  Read Full Review

Together with Nilsson and Thompson, Critical Response, Hwang makes music for arguably troubled times, even as he tells stories that are both personal and universal… It is worth listening to multiple times. One listen provides little opportunity for appreciating the full genius of Hwang and Critical Response. -  Dodie Miller-Gould, Read Full Review

This is music to pique your imagination and tantalize your listening experience with unexpected moments of brilliance and bluster. I found myself completely entertained. - Dee Dee McNeil,  Read Full Review

Jason Kao Hwang is a violinist and composer with one ear in the present and the other bent toward (or perhaps already in) the future, his compositions moving in interesting and unexpected directions. There is often a strong narrative sense to his material, and so the title of his new album, Book Of Stories, seems apt. And most of the tracks on this release are of such length necessary to tell compelling and full stories. Critical Response is the trio of Jason Kao Hwang on electric violin, Anders Nilsson on electric guitar, and Michael T.A. Thompson on drums, all skilled at improvisation. - Michael Doherty, Read Full Review

Electric violinist Jason Kao Hwang has released a set of 5 long-form compositions with guitarist Anders Nillsen and drummer Michael TA Thompson (Dennis González).  The trio packs a lot of different sounds into the set which has moments of transcendent beauty and others of cacophonous dissonance.  - WTJU, University of Virginia

(Google Translation from Hungarian) With astonishing improvisations, sound effects, rhythmic elements, and all completely free, but preordained musical devices, the Trio leads the audience into a state that is otherwise extremely difficult to convey on a recording medium...The electric violin presses into our souls like nothing else, with deep emotions. We can't even take our eyes off this special, impressionistic-sounding instrument.The album brings the mystery drama of our human existence!  - Hegedüs Zsuzsanna, Read Full Review

…amazing solos from all three members of the trio. What I really dig about this is how well Jason Hwang & Anders Nilsson play together, their sound is somewhat similar, it's like they are coming from the same soulful fabric that connects all of us sensitive folks. - Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter Read Full Review

Five stories of electric jazz from composer and violinist Jason Kao Hwang, who leads his trio with electric guitarist Anders Nilsson and drummer Michael T.A. Thompson through journeys of melodically fueled and lyrically realized original compositions, each showcasing the band's virtuosic talent and tight communication, with an ear to sonic excitement. -

Of all four albums by American violinist Jason Kao Hwan that I have listened to over the past four years, perhaps the newest one, Book of Stories, has come to my heart the most... Book of Stories as a whole feels less radical than Jason's previous work, and I think that's been good for the music. Kao Hwang is a great violinist and creative composer. It remains to be wondered why the priests of the Association of Jazz Journalists, when determining the nominees and laureates of their annual awards, do not notice this. - Leonard Auskern, Read Full Review

This captivating and wholly authentic album continues onward with the playful at times, cautious at others, and yet entertainingly gripping throughout a silent ghost, before we are brought forth my own personal favorite, the stuttered, clinically-sculpted Dragon Carved into Bone, the recording coming to a close on the flagging, yet quietly spirited Friends Forever. - Ann Carlini, Read Full review

Hwang has emerged as one of the most relevant figures in both Brooklyn's more adventurous scene and New York's Lower East Side… “Book of Stories” reveals a remarkable collaborative effort between Jason Kao Hwang, Anders Nilsson and Michael T. A. Thompson, which starts from a ballast of memories to envision possibilities for the future. - António Branco, Read Full Review

The music is flavored with funk and reggae hints and spices here and there, but the compositions, all by Hwang, are anyway adventurous enough to be interesting for all fans of improvised music, even non idiomatic, because the most recognizable parts are in a way ‘abstracted’ and conducted into climaxes or moments of rest that are fully dynamics and that can bring the listener a lot of fun, being a mix of the ‘mental’ approach of spontaneous improvised music and the more enjoyable characteristics of popular music without being ‘populistic’.  - Gian Paolo Galasi,  Read Full Review

 The closing track, “Friends Forever,” is the shortest, a lovely and gentle blues ballad written in tribute to departed musical comrades. - Phil Freeman, Read Full Review

(Google translate from German) Certainly, in the history of jazz and rock there have always been bands and soloists who have given the violin a new purpose beyond classical music or folk music. Think of Didier Lockwood or Jean-Luc Ponty, but also of Stéphane Grapelli or The Flock. But the violin is and remains exotic in jazz as far as the instrumentation is concerned. All the more you should prick up your ears for the fusion trio around Jason Kao Hwang. - Ferdinanc Dupuis-Panther, Jazz Halo Read Full Review

While Hwang will always be vibing musically with incredible new ensemble configuration, the perfect pairing of his trippy, insightful music and Currie’s mind-blowing descriptions will always be an exciting constant. Jonathan Widron, The JW Vibe Read Full Review

Jason Kao Hwang Critical Response: Book of Stories (2023, True Sound): Violinist, b. 1957 in Illinois, parents immigrated from Hunan after WWII, has spent considerable time mastering classical Chinese music but he's mostly recorded cutting-edge jazz, making him the heir apparent after the deaths of Leroy Jenkins and Billy Bang. Trio here with guitarist Anders Nilsson, who blends in beautifully, and drummer Michael T.A. Thompson.( A-). - Tom Hull,  

Next up was the Critical Response Trio with violinist Jason Kao Hwang, guitarist Anders Nilsson, and drummer Michael TA Thompson, accompanied by an eleven piece dance troupe. It was fantastic. The trio, whom I had heard once before exactly one year ago at an intimate concert in Beacon, NY, were spot on again.  - Paul Acquaro and Martin Schray, The Free Jazz Collective   Read full review

The music was fully improvised, riveting throughout, and evolved impressively from beginning to end. The piece had four distinct sections, giving the set the feeling of a suite with some structural forethought. Throughout the music was presented in equal measures of dark and light, buoyant and submerged, heavy and weightless, vertical and horizontal, these elements often working in effectively as aesthetic counterpoint to one another.   - Cisco Bradley, Jazz Right Now    Read Full Review