born William Walker in Mobile, Alabamabegan his career in New York City's Loft Scene of the early '70s after his conscripted service in Vietnam. Tagged as an avant-garde player, he rose to a higher profile with two recordings influenced by his war experiences: Vietnam: The Aftermath (Justin Time, 2001); and Vietnam: Reflections (Justin Time, 2004).
Though the avant tag may be accurate, Bang's musicover thirty albums as a leader has always been accessible, and is often quite beautiful in its exuberance while compelling in its rough-hewn folksiness.
Recorded in 2011, Da Bang! was the violinist's last recording before his passing in April of that year. It features the violinist in a quintet setting, sharing frontline duties with trombonist Dick Griffin
's early musical running mateopens with first a frenetic and searing, but then percussive Bang solo, before shifting into an ensemble of off-kilter swing, the rhythm section giving off bounce and sparkle. Coleman's "Law Years" opens with bassist Greene laying down the melody, leading into Griffin's rough-around-the-edges solo. Bemkey gets his turn too, and proves himselfagain and again on this setto be intense and inventive as a soloist and a perfect accompanist.
The fourteen-minute "Daydream," Bang's lone songwriting credit here, is a meditative gem, opening with a delicately beautiful piano turn before Bang's violin cries in. The leader's playing here is at its most heartfelt and intimate on this gorgeous centerpiece to one of Bang's finest recorded outings.
Bang isn't particularly known for his work with jazz standards, but he closes the set with trumpeter Miles Davis