- CMA Magazine, Spring 2013. Photo page
- Craig Nixon, Acoustic Levitation Read Listing
On Hwang’s inventive compositions from their latest project, Crossroads Unseen, they played with the cohesion and precision of an ensemble with a strong intuitive sense of each others’ musical imaginations.
- Arlene and Larry Dunn, icareifyoulisten.com, December 1, 2012 Read Full Review
- Time Out NY, November 25, 2012 See Listing
Violinist/composer Jason Kao Huang was one of many musicians pulling double and triple duty, performing a fascinating set of his own dense compositions with his with his Edge quartet Wednesday, then regrouping with the quartet, as well as Edgefest curator and mezzo-soprano Deanna Relyea and reedman Piotr Michalowski.
- Will Stewart, annarbor.com, November 4, 2012 Read Full Review
Building dense improvisations over Hwang’s complex frameworks, the quartet was almost mathematical as members traded solos and offered insistent accompaniment, frequently building to musical climaxes that as irresistible as they were technically brilliant.
- Will Stewart, annarbor.com, November 1st, 2012 Read Full Review
… boldly emotional writing that has Filiano and Hwang phrasing together over deep rumbling by Drury.
- The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors, Volume 45, No. 2, June 2012 Read Full Review
- Chamber Music America Magazine, May, 2012 Read Announcement
The third outing by adventurous violinist Jason Kao Hwang’s avant-chamber-jazz group Edge, Crossroads Unseen, consists of five pieces showcasing the stunning extended vocabulary of each member of the quartet.
- Jazz Times, Shaun Brady - March 26, 2012 Read Full Review
Swings the thing on Crossroads Unseen, but it flows organically from the writing…
- Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, May 16, 2012 Read Full Review
On the dark, cold and rainy Sunday evening of last weekend, violinist and violist Jason Kao Hwang brightened everyone’s spirits with a moving performance by his EDGE ensemble at U. Street’s historic Bohemian Caverns.
- Bobby Hill, Jazz Avenues, April 26, 2012 Read Full Review
So if freedom to explore and improvise using any influence is central to jazz, then there are few musicians who embody this ethos more than violinist Jason Kao Hwang, who will be leading a group on Sunday evening at the historic Bohemian Caverns.
- Sriram Gopal, dclist.com, April 20, 2012 Read Feature Article
- Michael J. West, Washington City Paper, April 19, 2012 Read Full Preview
The album's lead single, “Elemental Determination,” is available for download above. The song is a dazzling work that evokes the chaotic, cross-cultural beauty of the Lower East Side.
- Monika Fabian, WNYC, April 16, 2012 Read Full Review
... violinist and violist Jason Kao Hwang’s brightened everyone’s spirits with a moving performance by his EDGE ensemble at U Street’s historic Bohemian Caverns.
- Steve Monroe, Midcity DC, May 2012 Read Full Review
- Bill Meyer, Downbeat Magazine, January 2012 Read Full Review
- Troy Collins, All About Jazz See listing
They play 5 lengthy compositions that are packed with energy.
- D.Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Magazine, December 17, 2011 Read Full Review
Edge, with Hwang on violin and viola, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist Ken Filiano, and drummer Andrew Drury, has developed into one of most celebratory bands in jazz, a band that can take listeners on journeys of catharsis, or into the mysteries of self-identity, or the spiritual unknown and leave them feeling uplifted, enriched, and even entertained.
-- Point of Departure, Ed Hazell - January 9, 2012 Read Full Review
It was also true for me already old belief that this is one of the most interesting and most inspiring formations, which in recent years had the opportunity to meet. (google translation)
- Maciej Karlowskj, Jazzarium, December, 2011 Read Full Review
EDGE is a pulse in music and contagious enthusiasm, are virtuosity and energy, is explosive multicultural mix, is youthful verve and prudence, which gives the experience. It is everything that should please any fan of good jazz music.
- by Bartosz Adamczak , Jazz Forum , December, 2011 Read Full Review
(google translation from German) With Edge, he has a formidable quartet that moves through long contemporary jazz compositions, with harmonic scaffolding, a free scope for solo statements, and sometimes, in very finely dosed essential traces, the forefront of the Far Eastern world of sound.
- Jazz N'More, P B - December 1, 2011 Read Full Review
- Robert Iannapollo, The NYC Jazz Record, November, 2011 Read Full Review
The whole album has a cinematic feel and each piece goes through different changes in moods and colors.
- By Wilbert Sostre, Jazz Times, November 20, 2011 Read Full Review
The EDGE manages to play the music that is unimistakeably jazz (the virtuosic and passionate soloing, the level of real-time interplay, the bluesy base at times or the swinging pulse) yet equally unmistakeably modern (the composition's intricancy, the love for chamber sound and dramaturgy) and intercultural (New York, Asia, folk, rock, classical, blues, jazz, experimental), adventourous, immaginative and disciplined. Quite an achievement but more importantly - just great music.
- Freejazz Alchemist, Free Jazz Alchemist - November 18, 2011 Read Full Review
Edge is a particularly strong, inspired Downtown all-star quartet. Each of the five long pieces show a well-integrated ensemble where each member is integral to the group sound.
- Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter, Bruce Gallanter - November 14, 2011 Read Full Review
…complex and bouncy writing at times ... “Elemental Determination” is excited and all over the place. I like. (google translation)
- Francois Couture, Monsieur Délire, - November 11, 2011 Read Full Review
- Carolie Szerement, November 11, 2011 Read Full Review
…each passing splinter of musical dialogue, like the meditative thrusts found on the title track, revealing new knowledge.
- Jordan Richardson, blogscritics.org, November 10, 2011 Read Full Review
- Rotocod Zzaj, Zzaj Productions, November 4, 2011 Read Full Review
…full of Asian colors without being ethnic - a subtly asian-tinged use of space, sensitive as far as harmonic and melodic architectures and interplay, Hwang and his fellows are responsible for a music beautifully cooked up, revitalizing a tradition of free improvisation in showing us the single improvisers shifting their dialogues with fluency and sharpness, cinematic devices and a title track worthy of being listed in a forthcoming best of 2011.
- Gianpaolo Galasi, London Resonance, November 1, 2011 Read Full Review
At times mesmeric, introspective or aggressive, the musical vistas breed lucid imagery from an abundance of ebbs, flows and disparate angles. It's music for the mind, boosted by a highly sustainable form of entertainment.
- Glen Astarita, Jazz Review, November 1, 2011 Read Full Review
…his violin is unmistakably infused with Asian flavors, although not played as an ethnic instrument…the Big Apple's colorful and spicy sides tighter that the moments of stillness, while the Crossroads Unseen microtones are in their moment of maximum expansion and beauty.
- Gianpaolo Galasi, mescaline.it, October 28, 2011 Read Full Review
If “Crossroads Unseen” is a confirmation of the validity and the constant evolution of EDGE quartet, the album “Symphony of Souls Spontaneous River”, because of its unusual features conceptual and aesthetic by high levels achieved, Jason Kao Hwang located on the threshold of that, in academic terms, is often called a Magnum Opus.
- Sergio Piccirilli, Elintruso.com, - October 28, 2011 Read Full Review
Violinist Jason Kao Hwang breaks assumptions of what to expect with stringed instruments… There is tension, drama, release and conviction, done with seriousness which needs and demands persistent concentration.
- Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition, - October 25, 2011 Read Full Review
Striking a delicate balance between freedom and form, Eastern and Western tonalities and dynamic shifts in mood, “Crossroads Unseen” offers a telling appraisal of Hwang's talent for deftly transcending cultural divisions—one that places him at the creative forefront of his peers.
- Troy Collins, All About Jazz, October 4, 2011 Read Full Review
Crossroads Unseen is a product of progressive thinking…the recording is based on individual concepts brought together and fashioned into a cohesive body of freestyle musings. Hwang's ability to cross cultures in his music has made him an eclectic composer and an exciting live performer.
- Susan Frances, Associated Content, October 4, 2011 Read Full Review
The notion that the next great force in new jazz could be a violinist may seem a bit incongruous, but Crossroads Unseen is fresh, exciting and creative, and one of the best recordings of the year.
- All About Jazz, Karl Ackerman, All About Jazz, -October 3, 2011 Read Full Review
...what this recording states is its purpose is the act of sitting and absorbing all the strange and ultimately passionate beauty that Hwang and his Edge. Few composers and performers can produce the spectrum of sound each of the instruments contains as well as these gifted musicians. These are not songs, these are experiences, and they demand full attention both for the sake of releasing stipulations on what music is all about…
- Amazon, Grady Harp, amazon.com, October 3, 2011 Read Full Review
...he is a burst of angular, call-and-response ensemble interplay during what turns out to be a fast-paced journey across a varied avant-garde landscape. The surprise is how much emotion can be found on such an intelligent enterprise.
- by Nick Deriso, Something Else Reviews, October 3, 2011 Read Full Review
This does not feel like quaint chamber jazz, but high octane stuff at all times… Really good, guarantee this one will be summoned for future KFJC plays in years to come.
- Thurston Hunger, KFJC Radio, October 2, 2011 Read Full Review
…the extraordinary compositions of Jason Kao Hwang. Each unfolds in a flowing sequence of unsuspecting beauty with a startling mix of jazz idiomatic language and Chinese musical materials. His deep intellect and ear for detail is vividly present throughout.
- Hurd Audio, January 2, 2011 Read Full Review
OH did they deliver – with everything from a bowed dustpan (yes, that would be a violin bow drawn across the edge of a common household dustpan) to a pocket cornet, great charts(original) and profusely musical moments offered by Jason and Ken. Holy smokes.
- Cheryl, World of Music June 12, 2010 Read Full Review
Hwang has a large heart for melody...
-- Bad Alchemy, Rigobert Dittmann - November 30, 2009 Read Full Review
- Time Out New York, January 22-28, 2009 Read Full Review
- Bill Baron, CODA Magazine Read List
- All About Jazz New York , December 6, 2008 Read Announcement
- All About Jazz Read full listings
- Pat Frisco, WHFR-FM Read Full List
Edge is a quartet that has clearly honed its craft an extremely fine point, the high level of interplay apparent on every track... Kao Hwang's compositions bode well for the future of this gifted ensemble.
- Marc Medwin, Cadence Magazine, Nov.-Dec., 2008 Read Full Review
- Rolling Stone Magazine, Issue #321, 2008 See Listing
In his compelling creative approach we can find a natural balance that contains the daring of jazz, the depth of chamber music, the exploratory profile of free improvisation and a rare pilgrimage traditional rhythms of Asia.
- Sergio Piccirilli, El Intruso, August 8, 2008 Read Full Review
- Will Stewart, The Ann Arbor News, October 20, 2008 Read Full Review
- The IAJRC Journal, Vol. 41, No. 3, August 2008 Read Full Review
But the Chinese ancestry of the composer does not explain all: this album carries the brand of a very unique musician, a sonorous matter that one cannot take for any other.
- Diane Gastellu, August, 2008 (google translation) Read Full Review
- Jason Bivins, Signal to Noise, Issue #50, Summer 2008 Read Full Review
The title, Stories Before Within, perfectly expresses the storytelling that takes place here, as the tales absorb themselves in the spirit of the listener and surpass time to dwell in the province possessed only by imagination.
- Jordan Richardson, Blogcritic.org, April 9, 2008 Read Full Review
Another brilliant collection of forward-thinking compositions from Hwang, StoriesBefore Within offers a rich blend of jazz and chamber music thatseamlessly merges Eastern and Western traditions into a singular, global hybrid.
- Troy Collins, All About Jazz, March 22, 2008 Read Full Review
It's hard to find four words more likely to condemn an artist to obscurity than these: violin avant jazz fusion. In Huang's case however, it's undeserved. Balanced and compelling, his work is edgy without being pretentious. Worth a listen.
- Jeff Pinzino, Casual Listening, March 21, 2008
- Time Out New York, March 20-26, 2008 Read Listing
...like the previous release, the music is excellent, open to world influences or modern classical while being predominantly jazz.
- Blogspot, Stef, Free Jazz Blogspot, March 18, 2008 Read Full Review
"Embers" is a tragic composition, beginning quietly but taking brutally melancholic turns. Hwang's almost prodigious command over his instrument is impressive and "Embers" is an elegiac conclusion to a story of emotions that change so violently as to defy categorization as the last note fades, tragically, the listener is left with something enduring and beautiful.
- Karla Cornejo, All About Jazz, March 1, 2008 Read Full Review
Composer and violinist Jason Kao Hwang and his group Edge return with a story to tell on each of the five tracks on Stories Before Within.Hwang has long been a potent force in assimilating various styles of music, particularly Chinese, Korean and Japanese, with jazz.The result has been a startling cornucopia of thematic dynamics.
- All About Jazz, Jerry D'Souza - February 22, 2008 Read Full Review
- Howard Mandel, Arts Journal, February 12, 2008 Read Full List
His debut album Stories Before Within. Hwang—a violinist—is a fresh stream in Jazz.
- Nuvoye Russkoye, January 26-27, 2008 Read Full Review
O's Notes: Violinist Jason Hwang leads a string quartet through four free jazz compositions. Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet & flugelhorn), Andrew Drury (perc) and Ken Filiano (b) are the rest of the band. Jason composed all of the music and says it is based on the vibrations between expectations of ethnicity, culture and genre. It sounds like the conversations between our inner atoms as we grapple with life and those vibrations. It is provocative and precise even as the creative juices take the musicians on different vibes.
- D. Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Newsletter, January 26, 2008
JASON KAO HWANG/Edge: This downtown cat is practically a genre unto himself as he takes his Korean inspired jazz and lets it lead where it will. Working this time out with a quartet, this is a full on version of shape shifting cross-cultural jazz as opposed to world jazz. With an educator's eye on the music but a groover's ear to the sound, Hwang and his crew add yet another chapter to his diverse discography that never fails to amaze.
- Chris Spector, Editor and Publisher MIDWEST RECORD, January 15, 2008
- The Village Voice, January 2-8, 2008 Read Full Listing
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times, December 14, 2007 See Full LIsting
...an album of richly detailed but gracefully flowing themes.
- Signal to Noise, Jason Bivins. November 30, 2007 Read Full Review
...extraordinarysynergy. It's a rare occurrence, and even rarer in music as exploratory as Jason Kao Hwang's.
- Michael J. West, Jazz Review, November 30, 2007 Read Full Review
Asian-tinged, avant-garde world music at it's best, "Stories Before Within" is highly recommended for people who like their music a little closer to the edge.
- Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net, November 30, 2007 Read Full Review
The four manage to meld their individual experiences into a group that can swing hard, evoke the pentatonics and timbres of Asian music traditions or blues edge and push toward freedom.
- Michael Rosenstein, Signal to Noise, September 30, 2007 Read Full Review
A fine offering from a first-rate ensemble.
- Ted Gioa, jazz.com, November 30, 2007 Read Full Review
This disc showcases Hwang's skills as a composer and improviser. Both aspects combine his distinctive fusion of the artful and rustic… He's (Ken Filiano) one of the finest jazz bassists, period. The mercurial Bynum gets better every time I hear him, and Drury is a receptive, agile percussionist. As an improviser, Hwang projects an almost naïve sense of vulnerability – a quality that disappears whenever he's compelled to assert his mastery by letting loose his colossal chops. …This is a compelling example of his work.
- Chris Kelsey, Jazz Times, September 30, 2007 Read Full Review
- Time Out New York, August 4, 2007 Read Listing
...other than its strong statements from Hwang, as player and composer, is his ability to attract such an excellent quartet that beautifully interprets Hwang's emotionally charged stratagems. And what a group it is! Taylor Ho Bynum brings his cornet and flugelhorn, Ken Filiano adds his splendid arco and fingers-busting pizzicato bass work and the massively unheralded drummer Andrew Drury continually proves his personal touch with each stroke.
- Jay Collins, Cadence Magazine, October 31, 2006 Read Full Review
Coming to terms with sound heritages that are neither European nor African-American is one of improvised music's newest challenges. Yet violinist Jason Kao Hwang is one player who navigates the contradictions with ease.
- CODA Magazine, Ken Waxman, CODA Magazine, October 17, 2006 Read Full Review
The album title could easily refer to the incisive sound of Hwang's violin. He also demonstrates a mournful, vocal cry on "No Myth" and bittersweet lyricism on "Grassy Hills." Taylor Ho Bynum's work on cornet complements the violin effectively.
- Jon Andrews, Downbeat, August 31, 2006 Read Full Review
With a flurry of recordings, Jason Kao Hwang stands poised to break through both as an original composer and interpreter of considerable skill.
- Rex Butters, All About Jazz, August 20, 2006 Read Full Review
The compositions are also sweeping in content and breadth… Edge is a bid for serious jazz recognition. Jason Hwang's crystalline violin tone and his obvious attention to compositional detail make him a successor to—and a step beyond—out-jazz string players like Leroy Jenkins and Billy Bang.
- Will Layman, Pop Matters, August 18, 2006 Read Full Review
Jason has chosen a perfect quartet to capture his vision, as this group has their own strong sound… "No Myth" opens with some superb violin and cornet interplay, backed by Ken's throbbing bass and Andrew's hypnotic mallet work. This quartet played a great set at the Vision Fest last month… a perfect disc.
- Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter, July 7, 2006 Read Full Review
Hwang's writing embraces freewheeling improvisation and rigid through-written composition in equal measure, allowing ample room for interpretation. Balancing intuitive call and response ensemble interplay with rousing chart-driven passages, Edge is an avant garde thrill ride, and a high water mark in Hwang's already impressive discography.
- Troy Collins, All About Jazz, June 23, 2006 Read Full Review
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times, June 19, 2006 Read Full Review
The violinist has created works that have the harmony of jazz, the structure of chamber music, and the freedom of invention; all show an expansive, yet focused vision
- Jerry D’Souza, All About Jazz, May 28, 2006 Read Full Review
The compositions are strong and the band, when they need to be, is tight. Drury makes smooth but drastic shifts to complement the shifting cinematic pieces, Filiano is solid, Bynum burns and Hwang is inventive as ever. The disc blends to a whole.
- All About Jazz, Kurt Gottschalk, February 28, 2006 Read Full Review
- Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure, 2006 Read Full Review
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times, Jan. 13, 2006 Read Listing
- Time Out New York, January 12-18, 2006 Read Listing
By setting up situations in which the musicians can play with and off-of each other, Hwang always keeps the music moving forward at a lively pace – truly rare and most welcomed in free jazz.
-Thomas Erdman, jazzreview.com, November 30, 2005 Read Full Review
... the music contained on this CD is intense and emotionally alive.
- Jazzitude (2006?) Read Full Review
- Matt Cibula, Global Rhythm, 2005 (?) Read Full Review
Hwang is one of the more innovative American composer/instrumentalists of his generation… Edge lives up to its name in that it provokes keen listening, which ultimately speaks to the interplay within the quartet.
- Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure, November 30, 2005 Read Full Review
Stories Before Within is the second disk of its excellent quartet Edge...
- All About Jazz - Italy, Gigi Sabelli, November 30, 1999 Read Full Review
This is music of dramatic intensity, which makes sense coming from this particular free jazzer who has also penned an opera.
- New Music Box, Frank J. Oteri - November 30, 1999 Read Full Review