BILLY BANG — Billy Bang / John Lindberg : Duo (review)

BILLY BANG — Billy Bang / John Lindberg : Duo album cover Album · 1981 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
snobb
This album, recorded at KPFK Radio in Holywood in 1979, contains three free form improvisations recalling some of Dave Holland's early works ("Music For Two Bases", etc), released a decade earlier.

Acoustic bassist John Lindberg studied with Holland and played with Anthony Braxton among many others. Together with guitarist James Emery and Billy Bang, they founded The New York Strings Trio in the late 70s (as an alternative to the World Saxophone Quartet) with the intent of participating in New York's loft jazz scene, a re-incarnation of the free jazz scene of the late 60s. Lindberg had already released a solo bass album in 1979, and later Billy Bang released a solo violin improvisation album in 1980.

So this Lindberg-Bang duo album, called "Duo", could be placed between their solo albums and The New York Strings Trio music, all released at about the same time. Without any big surprises, listeners can find on this album perfect interplay between two young and very innovative artists, playing music full of life, emotions and even tunes and soul - not always a characteristic case for some free form string duo releases.

Lindberg's physical bass is obviously influenced by early Dave Holland, but he doesn't sound like a clone at all; the late 70s was a short but very grateful period for those searching for their own voice and willing to explore. Billy Bang, who will soon after this release become an almost free jazz celebrity, mixes adventurous free improvisation with blues and more traditional jazz forms, and shows how great the violin can sound in free improvisational jazz (without being scratchy, noisy or openly dissonant).

This is a perfect album for fans of string driven free jazz (Dave Holland, Barre Phillips, etc) - adventurous and accessible at the same time, there are just a few such albums around.
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