All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Billy Bang

Billy Bang Billy Bang

The violin is hardly the first instrument that comes to mind when you think about jazz, but that's never daunted Billy Bang, one of the instrument's most adventurous exponents. Over the past 26 years Bang's hard-edged tone, soulful sense of traditional swing and evocatively expressive style has enhanced over two dozen albums by top names in a variety of genres, from the blistering funk of Bootsy Collins and the harmolodic groove of Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society to the intergalactic uproar of Sun Ra. With more than 15 albums under his own leadership, nearly a dozen more in co-led endeavors, and five more with the String Trio of New York (which he co-founded in 1977 with guitarist James Emery and bassist John Lindberg), Billy Bang is one of the more prolific and original members of the progressive scene. Born William Vincent Walker in Mobile, Alabama in 1947, his family moved to New York City's Harlem while he was still an infant. In junior high school he was nicknamed Billy Bang after a cartoon character, and over his initial protests, it stuck. Around the same time, his primary interest turned to music, and he took up the violin, switching to percussion in the early '60s when he became captivated by Afro-Cuban rhythms. While attending a Massachusetts prep school under full scholarship, he met and began playing with fellow-student, folk-singer Arlo Guthrie. Drafted into the army following graduation, Bang was sent to Vietnam, an experience that profoundly affected his life, often quite painfully

Read more

Tags

Album Review
Extended Analysis
Album Review
Read more articles

Photos

Albums

Album Da Bang! by Billy Bang

Da Bang!

TUM Records
2013

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

Billy Bang's Survival...

NoBusiness Records
2011

buy
 

Billy Bang - Bill Cole

Point of Departure, WMPG-FM
2011

buy

Watch

Similar

Rudresh Mahanthappa Rudresh Mahanthappa
saxophone, alto
Fred Anderson Fred Anderson
saxophone
Ken Vandermark Ken Vandermark
saxophone
David S. Ware David S. Ware
saxophone, tenor
Frank Wright Frank Wright
saxophone, tenor
Julius Hemphill Julius Hemphill
saxophone, alto
Kahil El'Zabar Kahil El'Zabar
percussion
Sonny Simmons Sonny Simmons
saxophone, alto

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.