Billy Bang 2000
The renowned violinist, composer and improvisor Billy Bang was born in Mobile, Alabama, grew up in the South Bronx, and studied with the brilliant composer-performer Leroy Jenkins. In the 1970's he formed The Survival Ensemble, and later co-founded The String Trio Of New York. Bang has performed and collaborated with such remarkable musicians as Sam Rivers, Frank Lowe, Sun Ra, Don Cherry, Marilyn Crispell and James Blood Ulmer. His enthralling performance on this Roulette TV video opens with the wistfully plaintive blues melody, "Daydreams". Bang extends the opening emotional atmosphere through an astonishing variety of techniques that elicit dramatic and forward-propelling images before returning to the beginning mood. A wonderfully lyric ballad with allusions to play and work songs follows. Dedicated to Bang's friend Dennis Charles who went by the nickname Jazz, this composition is appropriately entitled "One for Jazz". Included in the piece is a poem that was his friend's favorite, authored and spoken here by Bang. The third and last selection is a firey, non-stop cadenza at presto-tempo, "Untitled". Afterwards in his interview, Bang speaks of searching and exploring the components of "Daydreams" and of being "magnetically pulled" into new aspects of the piece. He recalls the combination of Jazz and the European spirit in the AACM, and illuminates the "loft jazz" years in New York, emphasizing the creative persons involved and the development of more open ways of playing.