180

Billy Bang: Big Bang Theory

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Following up on his 1997 Justin Time release, "Bang On," Billy Bang seems to keep fiddling below the radar screen of many jazz enthusiasts, despite his individual style and the unpredictable directions his improvisations, or even his stage mannerisms, may take. For Billy Bang is a violinist whose ideas truly seem to be spur-of-the-moment as inspiration radiates, sometimes with physical embellishments, from his instrument to his audiences.

On "Big Bang Theory," Bang's repertoire is familiar, seeing as how it includes gospel tinges, free flights of animated angularity, pizzicato-ed resonance as if inviting the listener to pay closer attention, piquant ballads, New Orleans street beat, and straight-ahead swing.

But his change of personnel makes a big difference. While D.D. Jackson, as expected, took charge of the sound of "Bang On" with the complicity of Ronnie Burrage and Akira Ando, the rhythm section of "Big Bang Theory" allows Bang to shine as the leader, laying down beats and holding back accompaniment, until it's time to step forth.

And then...

Individually, the rhythm section of "Big Bang Theory" extends its subtlety as a means for building solos. Moffett's incredibly seamless and soft roll on the tune "Big Band Theory" sounds almost like a ball bearing rolling around the head, increasing in volume and intensity over several choruses to a thrilling conclusion. Curtis Lundy, another Justin Time artist deserving of much wider recognition, establishes infectious and complex vamps, especially on "Silent Observation," which seems to have a 3/4 and 5/4 meter, instead of a broken 4/4. Pianist Pope, not as Pullen-esque as Jackson, instead refers to McCoy Tyner in some of his work, such as his whirling and soulful attack rooted by those famously accented bass notes on "At Play In The Fields Of The Lord."

As one of the leading improvisers on an under-appreciated jazz instrument and recording on a Canadian jazz label, Billy Bang once again reminds us of the violin's possibilities for enriching the collective voice of jazz.

Track Listing:

Contrary Motion, At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, Big Bang Theory, Theme For Taraby, Silent Observation, One For Jazz, Sweet Irene, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Saved By The Bell, Little Sunflower

Personnel:

Billy Bang, violin; Alexis T. Pope, piano; Curtis Lundy, bass; Codaryl Moffett, drums

| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "I Just Did Say Something" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Did Say Something
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "A Cry For Peace" CD/LP/Track Review A Cry For Peace
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain" CD/LP/Track Review So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Rotterdam 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Rotterdam 1969
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!