Jason Kao Hwang leads, writes music and plays viola and violin in EDGE. He says his parents' journey to America has informed the quartet's chamber-jazz.
“Escaping the war, my father came to America from China on a Boxer Rebellion scholarship in 1945,” he wrote in the liner notes for EDGE's latest album. “My mother arrived in 1948. I often think of how far they traveled culturally, and of what they lost, wanted and got during their time on earth. Those feelings are in my music.”
The other players in EDGE are cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, drummer Andrew Drury and bassist Ken Filiano. Since its founding in 2005, the four-piece has released three full-length albums, the latest of which, Crossroads Unseen, was released in 2011. 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 circa 1912.
“For 'Elemental Determination,' I thought of our inner force that compels us to survive radical change and for our essence, our music, to continue to grow and blossom,” Hwang wrote.
Jason Kao Hwang performs with EDGE at the Clemente Soto Velez Center on the Lower East Side on Monday night.