Tonight was the Baltimore debut of Jason Kao Hwang/Edge as this hot quartet rocked An die Musik with some vibrant, creative improvised music. This was exactly the kind of aggressive, heady music my ears thirst for.
Jason Kao Hwang/Edge:
Jason Kao Hwang - violin, viola
Taylor Ho Bynum - cornet, flugelhorn
Ken Filiano - bass
Andrew Drury - drums
I was initially drawn to this concert because of Andrew Drury's excellent Innova CD A Momentary Lapse and Taylor Ho Bynum's insightful blog and guest post at Destination:Out. Hearing Jason Kao Hwang's playing and compositions for the first time was a revelation. He has developed a hybrid drawing from jazz, chamber music and Asian musical traditions that is incredible. And this quartet has that comprovisation sound where improvisation and composed material blend together so seamlessly that it's not always clear where one leaves off and the other begins.
This quartet has great range. There was plenty of dynamic contrast and a nice mix of textures ranging from high density to plenty of exposed solos. And the solos were a real highlight. There was never a moment when things would shift toward an "obligatory bass solo" or "now we'll have a drum solo" that one hears in more traditional head/solos/head arrangements. Instead, there were natural, uncontrived moments when one player would emerge completely into the foreground. And Ken Filiano was impressive on bass. He gets such a big, warm sound that spans a wide range of technique and yet never loses a deeply melodic sensibility.
This is one hot quartet. Don't miss them if they come to your town.