Anne Carlini - Exclusive Magazine - CD Reviews 

Title - 'Human Rites Trio' 
Artist - Jason Kao Hwang 

For those not in the know, Jason Kao Hwang and his longtime bandmates Ken Filiano (bass) and Andrew Drury (drums) could only have made this recording now, after having persevered – individually and collectively – through life’s trials and errors to get to this point of effortless musical mastery, where they can converse freely and eloquently in a language created together over years of collaboration. 

Certainly, the intimate experience of engaging with this music as a trio for at least a year, testing it in concert after concert, making revisions and discoveries all along the way, has engendered a truly remarkable depth of shared feeling and common understanding among them. 

The music of Jason Kao Hwang (composer/violin/viola) explores the vibrations and language of his history. His compositions are often narrative landscapes through which sonic beings embark upon extemporaneous, transformational journeys. 

Andrew Drury is a drummer, composer, and organizer who has performed in 30 countries and on 70 recordings, recently recognized by All About Jazz as “one of the most adventurous drummer/percussionists in creative music today, and a dedicated humanitarian.” 

Ken Filiano, bass player, composer, improviser, has been performing throughout the world for thirty years, collaborating with leading artists in multiple genres, fusing the rich traditions of the double bass with his own seemingly limitless inventiveness. 

On their brand new album, Human Rites Trio, and as explained by Hwang himself, "Each composition is a progression of gestures, songs, movements and locations that bring participants into a state of discovery and compassion." 

"Within these Human Rites, individual voices are empowered to be fully expressive so that each moment is unpredictable and deeply intentional." 

"This psychic intensity, both sacred and sacrificial, provokes a heightened awareness that unifies Listeners and Musicians within a spiritual entrainment." 

"As we hear ourselves within music we become Music, which is no longer a performance but an affirmation of justice and celebration of life." 

1. 'Words Asleep Spoken Awake: Part I' (6:45) 
2. 'Words Asleep Spoken Awake: Part II (9:02) 
3. 'Conscious Concave Concrete' (9:31) 
4. '2 AM' (6:06) 
5. 'Battle for the Indelible Truth' (11:49) 
6. 'Defiance' (9:44) 

Opening with the two-part ambiance of 'Words Asleep Spoken Awake,' the methodical way that Hwang’s compositions channel through his trio’s vibrant chemistry, perfectly encapsulates the increasingly syncopated chromatic string lines (especially those found in the frenetic Part II), providing a recurring frame of reference for mutually responsive interplay. 

Weaving funk, swing, and free sections together with consistent thematic coherence, up next is the the melodic, at times Middle Eastern-esque, drum led wonderment of the near ten minute 'Conscious Concave Concrete.' 

Inclusive of a rubato viola solo that serves as a pivot into the powerful blues groove that follow, that in turn is backed by the a transgression of conventional generic boundaries within the ornately highly strung elegance of '2 AM.' 

The near-12 minute opulence of the pure, thrusting, raw string-shredding expressionism through hybrid Afro-Asian ecumenicism, of the dynamic 'Battle for the Indelible Truth' is a breathtaking work of musical art, in and unto itself, and then the album comes to a close on the fingering-finesse, and drum/percussion, dynamic call and response between composition and improvisation core found within 'Defiance.' 

"I wish to thank Andrew Drury and Ken Filiano for their creativity, dedication and friendship,' Hwang continues. 

"This CD was completed during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. The music honors all the heroic doctors, nurses, and frontline workers who are saving so many lives. The music is also dedicated to the memory of all the people whom we tragically lost to this terrible disease."

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