|Jason Kao Hwang|
After a rock warm-up with Kazutoki Umezu KIKI band and almost a month-long break finally the Krakowska Jesien Jazzowa (Autumn Jazz Festival) is really on! And it starts with a real blast. The Edge played their last concert of of a small tour (concerts in Poznan and in Katowice on previous days) - their first ever visit to Poland. And they were very happy to finish that tour on Alchemia's stage, which, apparently, is more famous overseas than in Krakow.
And from the very first moments you know you're in for a treat - a strong bass pulse, freewheeling drumming with a slight latin tinge (cowbell) and furious soloing in between the tricky, intricate themes. Music whose complexity doesn't alternate it's live, vibrant, dynamic and passionate character.
|Taylor Ho Bynum|
The EDGE repertoire consists of heavily written, multifaceted pieces that all include several shifts in mood and tempo, while mantaining the narration structure. The music draws on jazz harmonies, blues scales, chamber-like pensieve chords, some cinematic noir suspense, asian folk melodicism. As there are no real genre boundaries the compositional discipline only apparently limits the musicians' freedom - the music structure is immensely varied and allows generous solo time for all four of the musicians.
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. If you get a chance to hear them - don't miss it.
ps. On most trivial yet entertaining note: while Jason would change the mike between violin and viola, the band would play a short ad-hoc interlude - a circus theme (Taylor proves to be quite a whistler) or a blues sung a'la opera. It's great to see the musicians enjoying themselves on stage and being able to create a direct rapport with the audience (those interludes are immediately met with smile and laughter - it's hard to think of any kind of reaction that would be more honest and appreciative).
(all the photos by Krzysztof Penarski.
More to be found on his blog http://photofreejazz.blogspot.com/)
Jason Kao Hwang - violin, viola
Taylor Ho Bynum - cornet, flugelhorn
Ken Filiano - double bass
Andrew Drury - drums
Alchemia. Krakow. 16.10.2011