256

Joe Fonda/Barry Altschul/Billy Bang: FAB: Transforming the Space

Jeff Stockton By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Fonda/Barry Altschul/Billy Bang: FAB: Transforming the Space When I hear musicians shouting or humming on a recording because they can't help themselves, I take it as a good sign. The spontaneity, intensity, and pure joy that comes across in those brief outbursts raises the level of excitement and intimacy so that you almost forget you're sitting in your living room listening to a CD. Bassist Joe Fonda, drummer Barry Altschul, and violinist Billy Bang clearly enjoyed playing the tunes on Transforming the Space , and the disc's sheer musicality and accessibility took me by surprise.

I admire Billy Bang's virtuosity, but the jazz violin, in its more avant-garde moments, screeches with a harrowing intensity and raw grittiness that can be too much to bear. There are moments of that here, but not many, and on Bang's composition "Tales from Da Bronx," his violin sings in a sweet woman's voice. You can imagine the teller of the story inhabiting the notes. This theatrical quality extends to Fonda on his "Song for My Mother," where he forms one half of a dialogue with Bang, both of whom have speaking parts in this conference of two birds. After the duo have their say, Altschul changes course with a military-march drum roll that leads into an expressive extended solo from Fonda who bears down on his instrument with concentrated effort.

On "The Softness of Light" Fonda plays beautiful arco bass, freed from everything but rich, sonorous melody, and on Altschul's "For Papa Jo, Klook & Philly Too," Fonda walks alongside the drummer whose opening solo threatens to bounce like he's swinging a '30s big band. Through it all, Bang's violin is nimble and quick, short and sharp, classically melodious and ominously dissonant, but always energized and coherent.

Just before the last track begins Bang and Fonda are heard joking with each other, and this glimpse into the studio serves as a fitting coda to a session brimming with empathic interplay. The players were loose, and the result is as tight a trio session as you're likely to hear.

Track Listing: Be Out S'cool; The Softness of Light; For Papa Jo, Klook & Philly Too; Tales from da Bronx; Song for My Mother; Coligno Battatta performed by Fab.

Personnel: Barry Altschul: drums; Billy Bang: violin; Joe Fonda: bass.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: CIMP Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
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 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 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 "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Rotterdam 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Rotterdam 1969
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings" CD/LP/Track Review The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings
by Doug Collette
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Currents 0" CD/LP/Track Review Currents 0
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Known-Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

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