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Billy Bang: Da Bang!

Read "Da Bang!" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

The final recording of the late violinist Billy Bang from February 2011, days before his final performance in the TUMfest 11 in Helsinki, is a celebration of his life as musician. Bang chose for this recording compositions of innovative musicians in the history of jazz--Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins-- that were part of his quintet repertoire for years. His trusty quintet supports his musical ideas and improvisations beautifully, and the album booklet features touching and insightful ...

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Billy Bang: Da Bang!

Read "Da Bang!" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Da Bang was recorded two months before violinist Billy Bang's battle with cancer ended in April, 2011. The album title is lifted from Bang's former FAB Trio band mate, drummer Barry Altschul. Indeed, Bang was an influential presence, partly due to his cutting-edge improvisational faculties. He was an artiste markedly comfortable in most any setting. On this outing, Bang covers modern jazz standards and contributes one original composition. The quartet gels on the late Don Cherry's “Guinea," which ...

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Billy Bang: Da Bang!

Read "Da Bang!" reviewed by John Sharpe

Even were one not viewing Da Bang! through the lens of this being violinist Billy Bang's last album, recorded just two short months before he succumbed to cancer in April 2011, there is still a detectable elegiac air which pervades even the brightest tracks. That's not the fault of the cast, although trombonist Dick Griffin comes across as a somewhat downbeat soloist, nor the material though it includes a selection of old warhorses. Rather it is down to the unvarnished ...

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Billy Bang: Da Bang!

Read "Da Bang!" reviewed by Troy Collins

Da Bang! is the last studio album recorded by violinist Billy Bang, made just two months before he passed away on April 11, 2011. Diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, Bang spoke about the healing power of music during these sessions and how he wanted to give something back to those who inspired and supported him. Considering the bulk of the record consists of covers, this final effort can be interpreted as the innovative violinist's elegy to the artists and ...

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Billy Bang: Da Bang!

Read "Da Bang!" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The list of prominent jazz violinists is not a long one. Start with Stéphane Grappelli and his legendary Hot Club de France swing recordings with gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Then there's Stuff Smith and his innovative electrolyzing of the instrument; Joe Venuti; the late Polish firebrand Zbigniew Seifert; and the still-active, post-bop/fusion player Jean-Luc Ponty.It's a short list, but it's one that's not complete without the name Billy Bang, who passed away in 2011.Billy Bang--born William ...

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Billy Bang: Da Bang!

Read "Da Bang!" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

On April 10, 2011, the music world lost one of the foremost innovators of the violin, Billy Bang. In addition to boldly pushing the instrument's boundaries, he is one of the rare jazz players who left an indelible mark on it. The Finnish TUM label posthumously released Bang's swan song, recorded a mere two months before his untimely death from lung cancer.Da Bang! is a sublime album of rich harmonies, multifaceted emotions, and tight, intellectually stimulating spontaneity. The ...

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FAB Trio: History of Jazz in Reverse

Read "History of Jazz in Reverse" reviewed by Nic Jones

A trio consisting of violin, bass and drums might seem a little thin, but violinist Billy Bang, bassist Joe Fonda and drummer Barry Altschul know a thing or two about this music and their collective effort on this disc combines elements of the intellectual and the physical. The result is, perhaps unsurprisingly, music which appeals in differing measures to both the head and the heart, serving notice of just how infrequently this mix is successfully caught on record.

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble: Black Man’s Blues / New York Collage

Read "Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble: Black Man’s Blues / New York Collage" reviewed by John Sharpe

Billy Bang's Survival EnsembleBlack Man's Blues / New York CollageNo Business Records2011 With Black Man's Blues / New York Collage, the Lithuanian based No Business label presents another thrilling installment in its invaluable documentation of the New York loft jazz of the 1970s, following on from 2010's acclaimed Muntu Recordings Box and Commitment: The Complete Recordings 1980-1983. Featured artist this time out is the late violinist Billy Bang, who died of ...

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FAB Trio: History of Jazz in Reverse

Read "History of Jazz in Reverse" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

It is a travesty of fate--and of the American jazz establishment--that violinist Billy Bang never received the recognition he merited. Hosannas have been sung to him, many of them after he died, but the fact remains that he was kept on the periphery despite an admirable body of work. His virtuosity can be witnessed on recordings like Valve No. 10 (Soul Note, 1991), and Vietnam: The Aftermath (Justin Time, 2001) and Vietnam: Reflections (Justin Time, 2004), which were extensions of ...

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Billy Bang: Prayer for Peace

Read "Prayer for Peace" reviewed by Troy Collins

Protesting the inhumanity of war through creative endeavors takes on far greater significance when the artist in question has been personally involved. A veteran of the Vietnam War, violinist Billy Bang confronted his own personal demons on such albums as Vietnam: The Aftermath (Justin Time, 2001) and Vietnam: Reflections (Justin Time, 2004). Prayer for Peace is a thematic continuation of sorts, expanding beyond Bang's concerns about global conflict to address clashes of a more universal and personal nature.The ...

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Billy Bang Quintet featuring Frank Lowe: Above & Beyond: An Evening in Grand Rapids

Read "Above & Beyond: An Evening in Grand Rapids" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

Few musicians in any category combine violinist Billy Bang's intrinsic understanding of his instrument's tradition with the adventurousness associated with the New York City loft scene of the 1970s and wrap it up in an inside-out style honed and refined over the course of a thirty-plus year career. For the last few years Bang has been enjoying a creative peak, particularly as a member of the William Parker Violin Trio, which released Scrapbook (Thirsty Ear, 2003), and ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Billy Bang: Sweet Space / Untitled Gift

Read "Billy Bang: Sweet Space / Untitled Gift" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Violinist Billy Bang has reissued two of his earlier albums on CD for the first time--Sweet Space, a live album from 1979, and Untitled Gift, a 1982 studio set. Both discs have lineups including luminaries like Frank Lowe and Don Cherry. The free structure and embrace of atonality give this music its kick. Billy Bang Sextet Sweet Space 8th Harmonic Breakdown 2005 (1979)

The tune that opens Sweet Space, “A Pebble ...


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