256

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

By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: FAB: Transforming the Space | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: CIMP Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read No Matter Where Noir CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Out Of Silence CD/LP/Track Review Out Of Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Plodi CD/LP/Track Review Plodi
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Secret Language CD/LP/Track Review Secret Language
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Shamat CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Jazzin' Around Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzin' Around Christmas
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "The Truth" CD/LP/Track Review The Truth
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Easy Living" CD/LP/Track Review Easy Living
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh" CD/LP/Track Review Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Alom Mola" CD/LP/Track Review Alom Mola
by John Eyles
Published: May 10, 2017
Read "Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson" CD/LP/Track Review Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor