Friday, April 15, 2011

Billy Bang Quartet - Valve No.10 (1993)

Billy Bang (born William Vincent Walker; September 20, 1947 – April 11, 2011) was an American free jazz violinist and composer.

1. P.M.
2. Valve No.10
3. September 23rd
4. Improvisation For Four
5. Bien-Hoa Blues
6. Holiday For Flowers
7. Lonnie's Lament

Another great, forgotten jazz session, now nearly impossible to find. In 1988, Billy Bang traveled to Italy on the eve of a new European tour with his current quartet, laying down seven tracks for an album which would serve as a shadow tribute album to John Coltrane. A slow, dirge-like rendition of Coltrane's "Lonnie's Lament" closes out the record, while "September 23rd" (Coltrane's birth date) is a spoken poem weaving the titles of numerous Coltrane songs around a few musical quotes. Truth be known, this is the least compelling track on the album, but it's far from awful. Bang has a fierce attack on violin, so much so in fact that he might be more properly considered a "fiddle" player. He's a gifted musician, and yet there's also a wonderful backwoods quality to his sound. Frank Lowe, recently deceased, offers a compellingly original style on tenor saxophone, unmistakeably "new," yet also deeply connected to the past, especially old pre-bop masters like Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. His smooth, thoughtful tone is a wonderful contrast to Bang's nimble scratch. Bassist Sirone is an unjustly forgotten, musical player, and Dennis Charles' drumming is a casebook study of jazz interaction. Memorable themes, intense yet never overwhelming soloing, spiritually positive and endlessly creative - this is a great album. Track it down. -Jason Gubbels

5.0 out of 5 stars

Billy Bang-- violin, compositions
Frank Lowe-- tenor sax
Sirone-- bass
Denis Charles -- drums


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