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A Tribute to Stuff Smith

Billy Bang

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Album Review

Forty years before recording this very interesting CD, keyboardist Sun Ra made his debut on records on a duet with violinist Stuff Smith, playing a haunting version of "Deep Purple." For this CD (one of Ra's final sessions) the quartet workout with violinist Billy Bang finds Ra doing a new version of "Deep Purple" and performing a variety of tunes associated with Smith. Actually, Ra was a bit hemmed in by the concept, and his conception of time was different than Bang's, so there is a certain amount of tension in the music. Also, Billy Bang has a much rougher sound and a freer style than Stuff Smith, but the end results are well worth hearing.

Biography

Born: 20 September 1947 in Mobile, AL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

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...
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A Tribute to Stuff Smith, Billy Bang
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