A 2009 concert at The Rubin Museum Of Art, New York, on the 8th May, 2009 from the duo of double bassist William Parker, also performing on shakuhashi, dousn gouni; and the late violinist Billy Bang, also performing on thumb piano; organic and deeply felt dialog.
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Catalog ID: NBCD 71
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Recorded live at The Rubin Museum Of Art, New York, on May 8th, 2009.
Billy Bang-violin, thumb piano
William Parker-bass, shakuhashi, dousn gouni
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1. Medicine Buddha 22:34
2. Sky Song 6:19
3. Bronx Aborigines 3:46
4. Eternal Planet (Dedicated To Leroy Jenkins) 14:25
5. Buddha's Joy 5:44
Related Categories of Interest:
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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sample the album:
Reflections on Billy Bang by William Parker:
"Billy Bang was a brilliant human being, always much more than himself, especially when he surrendered to his true calling-that of musician, one who transforms music into magic, dancing instead of walking, jumping instead standing still. Billy Bang was an American original, an original musician, an organic person who had tapped into the river of sound and was riding on a boat drenched in blues-soul-funk and space.
Billy is gone and unfortunately for the world there will never ever be another person like him. His life was not filled with joy, but he brought joy to life. Everyone who heard him play his violin throughout the world was moved and uplifted. When Billy played, he gave his all every time, always taking the music to the next dimension where beauty and truth and peace reside.
Billy was like a little big brother who was brave when he needed to be brave, bold and daring when he needed to be. Billy was a great basketball player; he had moves on the basketball court way before Magic Johnson. He also was very scholarly and meticulous about anything he approached in life, vulnerably open and honest.
I remember in the early '70s I was living in the Claremont housing projects in the Bronx. Billy would come by and we would play and rehearse while my mother fixed dinner. We would eat and continue until late in the night, trying to figure out what music was. I felt proud walking though Claremont with a kindred spirit named Billy Bang.
When his son Ghazal was born I went to the hospital to visit the newborn baby and both father and son had halos around their heads; it was amazing. Later when Ghazal was a small boy, he threw some of his toys out the window of the projects on Avenue D where Billy was living at the time. Billy responded by writing a play with music based off of the event for Ghazel's preschool class, composing some music and writing a script about the event. It was called "Popcorn's Adventure." So we went into his daycare classroom and performed this play and played the music. The skit had the kids laughing so hard their stomachs began to hurt. The humor and love that Billy Bang showed that day was tremendous. The teacher gave us juice and crackers and life was perfect.
Even though as was I was born and raised in the Bronx, I was a very serious and stiff guy. I needed some one to bring out my sense of humor. That person was Billy Bang. Billy showed me how to laugh and through that laughter to see life as the most serious thing there could be.
When the music came around it grabbed him and he was majestic, gentle, lyrical, and there was this eternal groove that never stopped. Even the most abstract sound he made was draped in the blues, pathos, and uplift. Billy Bang was filled with a fire, healing us as he healed himself. He played some music and lived to the fullest and fought to stay alive with undaunted optimism.
I am just happy I met and got to know him and play with him. I thank God for giving him to us for how ever long. He changed my life.
This duet concert we did at the Rubin was one of the last concerts we played together. I think it was a beautiful experience for all. - William Parker
At The Squid's Ear!
• Show Bio for Billy Bang
"Billy Bang (September 20, 1947 Ð April 11, 2011), born William Vincent Walker, was an American free jazz violinist and composer.
Bang's family moved to New York City's Bronx neighborhood while he was still an infant, and as a child he attended a special school for musicians in nearby Harlem. At that school, students were assigned instruments based on their physical size. Bang was fairly small, so he received a violin instead of either of his first choices, the saxophone or the drums. It was around this time that he acquired the nickname of "Billy Bang", derived from a popular cartoon character.
Bang studied the violin until he earned a hardship scholarship to the Stockbridge School in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, at which point he abandoned the instrument because the school did not have a music program. He had difficulty adjusting to life at the school, where he encountered racism and developed confusion about his identity, which he later blamed for his onset of schizophrenia. Bang felt that he had little in common with the largely privileged children at the school, who included Jackie Robinson, Jr. (son of baseball star Jackie Robinson) and Arlo Guthrie, and he struggled to reconcile the disparity between the wealth of the school and the poverty of his home in New York. He left the school after two years and attended a school in the Bronx. He did not graduate, decided not to return to school after receiving his draft papers, and at the age of 18, he was drafted into the United States Army.
Bang spent six months in basic training and another two weeks learning jungle warfare, arriving in Vietnam just in time for the Tet Offensive. Starting out as an infantryman, he did one tour of combat duty, rising to the rank of sergeant before he mustered out.
After Bang returned from the war, his life lacked direction. The job he had held before the army had been filled in his absence. He pursued and then abandoned a law degree, before becoming politically active and falling in with an underground group of revolutionaries. The group recognized Bang's knowledge of weapons from his time in the Army, and they used him to procure firearms for the group during trips to Maryland and Virginia, buying from pawnshops and other small operators who did not conduct extensive background checks. During one of these trips, Bang spotted three violins hanging at the back of a pawnshop, and he impulsively purchased one.
He later joined Sun Ra's band. In 1977, Bang co-founded the String Trio of New York (with guitarist James Emery and double bassist John Lindberg). Billy Bang explored his experience in Vietnam in two albums: Vietnam: The Aftermath (2001) and Vietnam: Reflections (2005), recorded with a band which included several other veterans of that war. The latter album also features two Vietnamese musicians based in the United States (voice and ˆn tranh zither).
Bang died on April 11, 2011. According to an associate, Bang had suffered from lung cancer. He had been scheduled to perform on the opening day of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival on June 10, 2011. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Bang)
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• Show Bio for William Parker
"William Parker is a bassist, improviser, composer, writer, and educator from New York City, heralded by The Village Voice as, "the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time."
In addition to recording over 150 albums, he has published six books and taught and mentored hundreds of young musicians and artists.
Parker's current bands include the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, In Order to Survive, Raining on the Moon, Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind, and the Cosmic Mountain Quartet with Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan, and Cooper-Moore. Throughout his career he has performed with Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Milford Graves, and David S. Ware, among others."-William Parker Website (http://www.williamparker.net/)
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