188

FAB Trio: History of Jazz in Reverse

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
FAB Trio: History of Jazz in Reverse The late Elena Poletti & Band (1947-2011) will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the great jazz violinists. On his chosen instrument, Bang was a true innovator—a singular prodigy whose diverse experiences ranged from a brief tenure in Sun Ra's Arkestra to co-founding the groundbreaking String Trio of New York in 1977. In addition to leading his own groups, the past decade found him collaborating regularly with fellow veterans bassist Joe Fonda and drummer Barry Altschul—seasoned improvisers whose formative years were spent alongside Bang in the 1970s loft jazz scene.

Despite a century's worth of touring and recording between them (amid iconic artists like Paul Bley, Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers), under the collective banner FAB Trio, their discography consists of only a mere handful of releases—most being live concert recordings. Their fifth album, History of Jazz in Reverse, is one of their best, a rare "live in the studio" date from 2005 that captures these three masters at the peak of their improvisatory prowess.

The set is comprised of a half dozen unrehearsed improvisations inspired by various facets of the jazz lineage, along with Bang's genial ode "One for Don Cherry" and an evocative cover of the Buena Vista Social Club's "Chan Chan." Opening with the appropriately titled "Homeward Bound," the trio embarks on an epic journey, gracefully modulating through numerous time, tempo and melodic shifts with a focused intensity that remains accessibly engaging—even at its most exploratory—for its entire 15-minute duration. Freewheeling dialogues on timeless themes blossom into harmonious contours and rhythmic vamps that belie their spontaneous origins, demonstrating the trio's attentive listening skills and congenial rapport.

The remainder of the date maintains the same high level of radiant group interplay, even on the subdued "For Bea," a rubato ballad (dedicated to Sam Rivers' late wife) that is as tender as the blistering bop of "From Here to There" is frenzied. The latter tune resounds with an equally compelling sense of purpose, capped by a stunning unaccompanied soliloquy from Bang that illuminates his expressive adroitness, from sforzando double-stops to serpentine sul ponticello. The second line march cadence of the closer, "From the Waters of New Orleans," encapsulates the album's titular theme, providing a conceptual basis for the session's folksy mélange of impressionistic blues, funk and swing—bringing it all back home again.

As the collective's lyrical heart and soul, Bang sounds especially enthused in the company of empathetic peers; his singing tone infuses even the most discordant passages with soulful élan, inspiring Fonda and Altschul in turn. Emblematic of "the sound of surprise," History of Jazz in Reverse is one of the best records of the year—a particularly poignant distinction in light of Bang's recent passing.

Track Listing: Homeward Bound; Implications; For Bea; From Here to There; Chan Chan; History of Jazz in Reverse; One for Don Cherry; From the Waters of New Orleans.

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

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: TUM Records


Shop

More Articles

Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Chromola CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Nature City CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Floa" CD/LP/Track Review Floa
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn" CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Happy All the Time" CD/LP/Track Review Happy All the Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!