Artist Info

Billy Bang

Although he played an instrument more closely identified with uptown concert halls than downtown jazz clubs, there was no mistaking the primary source of Billy Bang's musical inspiration. While his violin technique was extensive and his familiarity with contemporary classical forms apparent, Bang's rough-edged, sometimes almost guttural tone, old-fashioned sense of swing, and lexicon of vocalic expressive devices defined him as a jazz musician. Bang improvised lines that might have been lifted straight from a George Crumb composition, yet he invested them with an emotionalism and spontaneity unique to jazz. Whether in the abstract (as a solo violinist, elaborating on skeletal melodic material) or as part of a greater whole (with Sun Ra's Arkestra, for example), a Bang performance was always awash with surprise.