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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

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Photos (32) Slideshow

Discography

Da Bang!

Da Bang!

TUM Records
2013

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

Billy Bang's Survival...

NoBusiness Records
2011

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Billy Bang - Bill Cole

Point of Departure, WMPG-FM
2011

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Videos

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