The Squid's Ear Magazine


Hwang, Jason Kao Critical Response (w/ Anders Nilsson / Michael T.A. Thompson): Book of Stories (True Sound Recordings)

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.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Jason Kao Hwang-composer, electric violin

Anders Nilsson-electric guitar

Michael T.A. Thompson-drums


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UPC: 798576236298

Label: True Sound Recordings
Catalog ID: TS04
Squidco Product Code: 33948

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded Tedesco Studios,in Paramus, New Jersey, by Tom Tedesco.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Fusion - after a half-century or so - has reached a certain age, meriting serious reconsideration if not complete reconceptualization, as indeed it receives here by Critical Response. While the Afrofuturist experimentalism of its trailblazing earliest manifestations may soon have devolved in more commercial directions, it crossed paths briefly but seminally with avant-garde jazz on New York's downtown Loft Jazz scene, whose inspiring aesthetic intersections reverberate throughout the music now at hand.

Jason Kao Hwang, of course, is no stranger to fusions, having distinguished himself among the illustrious alumni of that loft scene by virtue of his visionary musical alchemy: amalgamating composition and improvisation, blending contemporary and creative music, integrating East and West. In this Book of Stories, he all but reinvents the electric violin to reimagine the synergies across the jazz-rock spectrum in concert with kindred spirits Anders Nilsson on electric guitar and Michael T.A. Thompson on drums.

"Power of Many in the Soul of One" provides immediate proof of concept, by deploying the tension between laid-back riff-based jams and aggressive rhythmic interruptions, as well as the contrast between wide-open fields of lyricism and dense battlegrounds of angst, to outstanding narrative effect, as the undercurrent of agitation introduced early on re-emerges in the urgent clashes of the harrowing collective-improvisational climax.

"Upside Circle Down" pays clearly heartfelt homage to Jason's formative years on the Lower East Side scene, with a lofty ballad that dances perilously on the cutting edge of rhapsody, from the freely extemporized opening investigations of electric timbres, through chorus after chorus of the main song-form's alternating funky riffs & lyrical bridge, to the concluding poignant trio improvisation and coda.

"a silent ghost follows" evokes electric soundscapes of psychoanalytic dreamwork, employing the manifest content of short unison lines as points of departure for exploring the latent content through solo, duo, and trio improvisations.

"Dragon Carved into Bone" invites listeners to join the trio in imagining the exciting directions in which fusion might have evolved had it held fast to its loft-era experimentalist DNA, perhaps cross-fertilizing with downtown punk and electronica to yield wild-flowered fields of turbulent tuttis, intense collective improvisation, and funky jam sections, as deeply rooted in the fierce urgency of now as in the fearless insurgency of then.

"Friends Forever" concludes the set with a moving tribute to the inspiration of departed comrades whose living legacies keep true believers moving forward with ever-increasing resolve, in this case with the blues-drenched melodicism that serves so often and so well as Jason's compositional calling card.

Make no mistake: while drawing masterfully on all that has gone before, this trio has no time for nostalgia. Their music lives in the improvisational moment, as T.A.'s responsive propulsion drives Anders' spiky virtuosity through Jason's carefully structured compositional itineraries for these journeys of spontaneous discovery. Meanwhile, Jason's painstaking attention to electronic detail transforms his instrument into a protean kaleidoscope of timbral possibilities, whose instantaneous metamorphoses evoke passing glimpses of shredding electric guitar, breathy wooden flute, and rich contrabass that further expand the vistas of his formidable violin conception. Altogether, throughout the fascinating combinations and permutations explored in Book of Stories, Critical Response's spontaneous fusions bespeak a collaborative commitment to the present moment, in which shared memories of past glories engender collective visions of future possibilities."-Scott Currie


Artist Biographies

"Jason Kao Hwang (composer/violin/viola) recently released the CD Sing House, featuring his quintet, and VOICE, which features several ensembles with poetry. Sing House performances include the Vision Festival and Edgefest (MI). Burning Bridge, his octet of Chinese and Western instruments was one of the top CDs of 2012 in Jazziz and the Jazz Times. Performances include the Festival International de Musique Actuelle (Canada) and Freer Gallery (D.C.). The 2012 Downbeat Critics' Poll voted Mr. Hwang as "Rising Star for Violin." In 2011 he released two critically acclaimed recordings, Symphony of Souls, for improvising orchestra, and Crossroads Unseen, the third CD of his quartet EDGE. His opera, The Floating Box, A Story in Chinatown, was one of the top ten recordings of 2005 in Opera News. As violinist, he has worked with Wadada Leo Smith, Pauline Oliveros, William Parker, Anthony Braxton, Steve Swell, Tomeka Reid, and others. Mr. Hwang has received support from Chamber Music America, US Artists International, the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation and others. Mr. Hwang currently teaches sound design at New York University."

-Jason Kao Hwang Website (https://www.jasonkaohwang.com/short-bio)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Swedish-born and New York-based experimental guitarist Anders Nilsson produces music that is at once bracingly direct and utterly unclassifiable." - Matt Miller, tuneOUToptIN. As an electric, acoustic and 11-string alto guitarist, he has performed at festivals and concerts throughout Europe and North America. His solo guitar music is featured on the albums "Night Guitar" 2012 and "Äventyr" 2022. "Anders Nilsson, a guitarist-composer comfortable with everything from free improvisation to avant-garde metal, celebrates a fine recent solo effort, Night Guitar, that traverses ghostly mood-setting, bluesy twang and overdriven riffage." - Time Out, New York. He leads three bands playing his music; Anders Nilsson Group with Satoshi Takeishi drums, percussion and David Ambrosio electric bass, bata, Outer Space Caravan with Stephanie Griffin viola, Michael Attias alto sax, Ken Filiano bass, Anders Nilsson's AORTA, a jazz-rock band in Malmö, Sweden. He plays on over 40 albums and has performed and/or recorded with many artists such as Mohsen Namjoo, Gordon Beeferman, Jason Kao Hwang, Kalabalik, Paquito D'Rivera, Elliott Sharp, Fay Victor, and Angelblood. Nilsson's work as a composer has produced 100+ compositions ranging from brief to epic solo works to large experimental ensemble works, many of which have been released on several acclaimed albums. He has also written music for string quartet, short films, butoh dance performances and theatre.

I extend endless thanks to the many special collaborators I've been fortunate to work with over the years including;

Drummers: Peter Nilsson, Michael Evans, Tom Bruno, Satoshi Takeishi, David Nuss, Lou Grassi, Michael T.A. Thompson, Jeff Arnal, Gerald Cleaver, George Schuller, Hamid Drake, Vinnie Sperrazza, David Gould, Tim Keiper, Michael Wimberley, Kevin Shea, Calvin Weston, Antonio Sanchez, Lukmil Perez, Martin Brandquist, Jeremy Carlstedt Bassists: Ken Filiano, David Carlsson, David Ambrosio, Joe Fonda, Sean Conly, Michael Formanek, Matt Heyner, Reid Taylor, Kermit Driscoll, Felipe Cabrera Cardenas, John Benitez, Ed Schuller, Mark Helias, Francois Grillot, Stuart Popejoy, Ratzo Harris Cellists: Tomas Ulrich, Fred Lonberg-Holm Violin: Sarah Bernstein, Charlie Burnham Keyboardists: Sebastian Schunke, Daniel Kelly, Evan Gallagher Trumpeters: Tomas Hallonsten, Matt Lavelle, Roy Campbell, El Indio, Ralph Alessi Saxophonists: Mattias Carlson, Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter, Ras Moshe, Michael Attias, Darius Jones, Sven Andersson, Cennet Jönsson, Sam Newsome, Tony Malaby, Helge Albin, Henrik Frisk, Mats Gustafsson, Martin Kuchen Clarinetists: Paquito D'Rivera, Perry Robinson Vocalists: Fay Victor, John Sinclair, Bonnie Barnett Percussionists: Chris Tunkel, Burkhard Beins, Brahim Fribgane Guitarists: Gene Bertoncini, Raoul Björkenheim, Aaron Dugan, Elliot Sharp Banjoist: Eugene Chadbourne Tubaist: Jose Davilla The world's only Flexicordist: Herman Müntzing."

-Anders Nilsson Website (http://www.andersnilssonguitar.com/bio/)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Mike T.A. Thompson is a jazz drummer known for groups Dennis Gonzalez NY Quartet, Dennis Gonzalez's Inspiration Band, Dennis Gonzalez's Spirit Meridian, Ken Filiano & Quantum Entanglements, Matt Lavelle Trio, Sabir Mateen's Shapes, Texture And Sound Ensemble

-Discogs.com (https://www.discogs.com/artist/1091516-Mike-Thompson-9)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. The Power of Many in the Soul of One 13:52

2. Upside Circle Down 13:06

3. a silent ghost follows 07:38

4. Dragon Carved into Bone 12:11

5. Friends Forever 05:49

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
Stringed Instruments
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
New in Improvised Music
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Jazz & Improvisation Based on Compositions

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True Sound Recordings.


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