VOICE, my new CD will be released
by Innova Records on January, 29, 2016.
Pre-release sale has begun at Innova Records.
VOICE Music: Jason Kao Hwang
Poetry: Lester Afflick, Fay Chiang, Steve Dalachinsky, Patricia Spears Jones, Yuko Otomo,and Davida Singer
Musicians: Tom Buckner, Deanna Relyea – voice, Joe McPhee - tenor sax/pocket trumpet, William Parker, Ken Filiano - bass, Piotr Michalowski – sopranino saxophone/ bass clarinet, Taylor Ho Bynum – cornet/ flugelhorn, Andrew Drury – drum set, Sang Won Park - kayagum, Jason Kao Hwang – violin/viola
Liner Notes by Yuko Otomo
Each of the poems I chose had a personal resonance. They felt like my voice speaking words of my own to express essences that I could not bring to consciousness before. I also heard music in them. All the poems have an inherent and unique flow of rhythms, textures and colors that would challenge and engage music. Aware of this dynamic, I composed sonic spaces that allowed each poem to fully resonate. These spaces created were always infused by improvisations, orchestrated for the unique voice of each musician & vocalist, and developed in direct correspondence with the poems’ evolution. Throughout each poem’s sonic architecture Deanna Relyea and Thomas Buckner were fully empowered to improvise so that the poems would truly become their words, which they chose to sing or speak. In this recording, each word is a sound and each sound is a poem. I am grateful for these indivisible vibrations that offered me lifelines to grow.
- Jason Kao Hwang
There are voices that speak our thoughts, emotions and needs. They vibrate the air to deliver the contents. We speak and talk. We hear and listen. And there are other kinds of voices that are alive but mostly unheard. Some loud and intense, some soft, almost mute, all saying something that needs to be heard. Although heard by no one yet, they are definitely and clearly there. A poet gives them actual voices using their instrument: words. Poems come alive, when written, to be heard by all, including poets themselves. Every poem speaks a different story, creates a different landscape and brings in a different idea since everybody is unique.
And then, there are musicians and vocalists. They do a similar thing to what poets do. They hear unheard music, alive and well, but not yet shared with anyone. They make music to cause the unheard music to come alive using their voices and instruments, alone and collectively. The music they create gives out vibrations to the air by dispersing the actual particles of sounds in it. This way, they deliver the story, the landscape and the idea once unheard to us as a living breath.
This VOICE project is a very personal one in the most profound sense. It is a “first person” experience not just for Jason, but for everyone involved. That is why I prefer to call all the participating artists by their first names here. Jason heard his own voice that he could not express in words in the poems created by Davida, Patricia, Fay, Lester, Steve and myself. When something “personal” goes deep enough to a certain degree, it reaches a tipping point where the “personal” changes itself into the “universal”. He heard the voice and the music in these poems. So, he composed a sonic space inspired by his personal experience and invited his musician friends, vocalists, Deanna and Tom, instrumentalists, Joe, William, Sang, Piotr, Taylor, Andrew and Ken to share his experience. And this was the last recording his EDGE quartet (Jason, Taylor, Andrew & Ken) did before going on hiatus. How amazingly beautiful it is to see our personal voices once unheard being shared as universal voices with others in such an organic and empathetic way despite different backgrounds and personal histories!
VOICE has its own unique history. First created and premiered as “Words of Our Own” for Larry Ochs’s Words and Music series at the Stone NYC in March 2010, it was later performed again at A Gathering of Tribes in April 2010 and for the Interpretations series at Roulette in January 2012. “Lifelines” came into life soon after inspired by the Roulette performance. Commissioned by Edgefest, it premiered there in November 2012 and again was performed at the Stone in December that same year. “Words of Our Own” was recorded in 2012 and “Lifelines” in 2014. VOICE is the resulting creative development of these projects.
VOICE is also a community project. It grew out of the shared garden called New York City. Like a tree or a wild flower, it grew out of our commitments to our creative lives. As for the poets and musicians involved here, we’ve all known each other one way or the other over the years through joys, struggles and a shared spirit to make the world a better place. Some of us met at various creative spaces such as Basement Workshop and A Gathering of Tribes, crossing the borders of genres and cultural differences. We all are extremely happy to have our beloved friend, Lester Afflick, who passed away much too young, as an integral part of this project. The poems included here are from his book of poetry: “I Dream about You Baby” edited by Marci Goodman and published by Steve Cannon’s Fly By Night Press posthumously with the support of his close friends.
Now, the voices, once unheard and impossible to reach, are here with us, welcoming us all to listen to them with open arms. Let us listen to them from every corner of our streets, memories and dreams. Here VOICE speaks to us in the most humble, personal and genuine timbres and tones, as we walk together or alone in this landscape called LIFE. - Yuko Otomo
Here's a preview announcement of VOICE in El Intruso.
My quintet Sing House, featuring Andrew Drury (drum set), Ken Filiano (string bass), Chris Forbes (piano), Steve Swell (trombone) and myself (composer/violin/viola) just completed recording our next CD. Look out for a release in 2016!
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