Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ayman Fanous & Jason Kao Hwang Zilzal Innova 2013

An exercise in free listening, cultural boundaries are shattered with the inspired performances of Ayman Fanous & Jason Kao Hwang.
Brent Black /
Free jazz gets a bad rap. Good thing Zilzal does not fall into that genre specifically. What is incredibly unique and equally as impressive is that the improvisational spin on what many would consider world music is done with no prior rehearsal. "Free listening" has Fanous and Hwang feeding off the individual ideas put forth and then something magical happens. The symbiotic chemistry of two kindred spirits takes music that is Middle Eastern in origin and beings forth Asian and a definite third stream influence to invoke a totally new stream of musical consciousness.

The flamenco and classical guitar roots of Fanous are paired perfectly with the evocative flights of fancy demonstrated by Hwang who can easily be considered as one of the premier violinists working outside the traditional rigors of the classical. The music runs the sonic spectrum from the more traditional form and function of what we know as jazz to the more melancholy moods brought forth from a myriad of influences. Zilzal is built on passion both to the extreme and to the minimalist perspective.

To dissect the music further would be an exercise in futility. Two voices working as one harmonic train of thought are rare in the improvisational music we refer to as jazz, to venture into the cultural extremes as exhibited within Zilzal and make the music accessible to a broad based audience is simply amazing. 

Tracks: Nilometer at Roda; DNA: Untranslated; DNA: Messenger, The Message; Zilzal; Mausoleum of Beybars the Crossbowman; DNA: Binding Sights; Lapwing; Darb al-Arbaeen; Tree of The Virgin at Matariya.

Personnel: Ayman Fanous: Guitar and Bouzouki; Jason Kao Hwang: Violin and Viola