Saturday, April 30, 2011

Changing Seasons - Billy Bang [Bellows 004]

Gratifyingly, many of Billy Bang's recordings remain in- print and available. On Soul Note, Justin Time, Black Saint , CIMP, and a fistful of smaller labels. Even 'oddities' like the solo violin 'Commandment' on the tiny 'No More' label can be obtained with minimal searching. That so many of the records are so good, and in so many diverse settings and styles, is a testament to the musicianship of the man.

Only a few things have slipped through the cracks and remain unavailable, with little likelihood of reissue. One of them was posted here, Feb 2009 (Live at Green Space with Charles Tyler).

Here's another one.

3 of the 4 tracks were recorded in trio with William Parker and the Japanese percussionist Toshi Tsuchitori. Then, a free-jazz avant-guardist, in the following decades Tsuchitori has explored worlds of ancient instruments, releasing a number of recordings including "“The Sounds of Prehistoric Painted Cave: Playing in the Cave of Cougnac, France”. For over 30 years he has collaborated on and off with British theatre and film director Peter Brook

The other Japanese musician on this record - on the 'Playful Spring' duet is trombonist Masahiko Kono. A determined experimentalist, in 1980 he would have been on a visit from Japan, having studied and worked there with Toshinori Kondo, tenor player Mototeru Takagi and violinist Takehisa Kosugi. Unlike Kondo, he moved to the USA permanently and has played extensively with groups led by Jemeel Moondoc, William Parker and William Hooker, as well as being a frequent member of Cecil Taylor's big band.

It is likely redundant to mention William Parker in an introductory context. Suffice to say that both Parker and Bang debuted on record within a year of one another (Parker 1973, Bang 1974) and that their musical association goes back at least to this time. More than 2 decades after Changing Seasons was recorded, the two formed, with Hamid Drake, the Violin Trio, releasing the beautiful Scrapbook album on Thirsty Ear. In the interim, Parker played bass on outstanding Bang records like The Fire From Within (Soul Note, 1984), and Sextet - Live at Carlos 1 (Soul Note, 1986).

The crickets (noted in the title of Track 1) are audible on all 3 of the 'Studio Henry' tracks - giving an evocative feel of a hot New York summer. The duo with Kono was recorded 2 days after Christmas of that year - at a guess, the 'Changing Seasons' of the title comes from the disparity between the 2 sessions (seasonally speaking).

160 kbps MP3's of this have been available in blogland for quite some time. Anecdotally, membership of a stern Russian free-booty site would allow you to access MP3s at 320. Hell, bits of this album have even appeared on YouTube (accompanied by a static photo).

But these are FLACs - from a clean LP copy and very low on the pop & crackle quotient.
The sound is good.

And the music is wonderful.

Seriously, consider buying some fantastic in-print Billy Bang music - it would be a fitting respect and farewell to the man. If you don't know his String Trio of New York or Soul Note or Justin Time records - you need them ! Any of these will pay royalties on sales to his estate - he is survived by his daughters Hoshi and Chanyez, his sons Jay and Ghazal, - and his partner Maria.


serviceton said...

FLAC Changing Seasons Billy Bang

onxidlib said...

Never heard about this Billy Bang LP before.
Especially with William Parker and even Toshi Tsuchitori.

Thank you !!!

serviceton said...

You are very welcome onxidlib.
And thank you for being the 107th person to download - and the first to leave a comment!!
I do wish people would say something, as they grab these things.
They take so long for me to put together..

Mutha Klanger said...

i was one of the Guilty 106. so...big thanks :-) this was new one on me too

onxidlib said...

I know what you mean, Serviceton - ripping a LP is a consuming affair.
And I don't think "only" about the time one is spending...

serviceton said...

Mutha Klanger - thanks for wheeling back to drop a comment in - appreciated . Say hi next time too!

onxidlib: tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day until the last syllable of recorded time
Or so it sometimes seems...

when do the fireworks start? said...

Many thanks for this rarity serviceton, Billy Bang was always doing something new and was always a fav of mine. His early passing is a terrible loss to the avant jazz world.

I'm not certain if Billy's illness was caused by cigarettes but if there are any smokers reading this, please stay away from Anglo-American corporate brands, organic tobacco is comparatively harmless can be found with a bit of research.

Frédito said...

Thank you Serviceton.

Frédito said...

This is nice. I am particularly fond of Winter rains. Thanks again !

I keep a superb memory of Billy Bang in concert at the beginning of 2006 near Paris, France. In the band that night were two vietnamese musicians, a female singer and a xylophone or metalophone player. A fantastic evening.

serviceton said...

Winter Rains is my favorite track also on this record.

as someone who never saw him live, but loved his records for a *long* time .. - I can only envy Frédito your memorable live encounter with his Vietnam Aftermath group of 5 years ago. i can now only wish i was there.

'fireworks' - Thanks for dropping by .Our current challenge may be to step beyond the Anglo-American corporate brands - not just in the baccy dept, but also in life
Those guys are killing us - yet we keep them alive.. .

Frédito said...

Yes Serviceton, this "Avant Vision" night impressed me very much and I keep it as one of my best concert experiences. In the audience was Margaret Davis-Grimes who told me how Billy Bang kept something from Vietman, that kept him "apart" too often. The two other sets were Rob Brown opening in company of Henry Grimes and William Parker, and the Revolutionary Ensemble closing that night. A great triple concert indeed !

serviceton said...

Sounds like it was an amazing night - one to remember for a long time (i love those occasions when they happen)..

marten512 said...

Thanks very much for posting this. Was it specifically chosen as a 'goodbye' to Mr Bang? It's entirely new to me and (I think) a lovely example of his music making.

I have always had a soft spot for Billy Bang and Frank Lowe as 'Intensive Care' was one of the albums that turned me onto Jazz. Sadly, all four of the good (Jazz) Doctors have now passed.

Thanks again.

serviceton said...

a goodbye - yes. Jazz Doctors - great band, great record, wish they had made more. A few live shows exist of them , and are great.
Vale Garrett, Lowe, Charles - and now, William Vincent Walker.
Huge respect.

marten512 said...

Respect indeed.

farosanderson said...

This is a very interesting post as I have been hitherto unaware of this album. I saw Billy at The Tin Palace (I think) in NYC in 1980. I had not heard of him at that time but have been a fan ever since. Billy obviously seeing a new face in an otherwise sparse crowd came up and said hello between sets, I didn't realise at the time what an honor that was. Just been listening to one of my favourite BB albums: The Ritual Trio's Another Kind of Groove, very funky, very groovy. Also love the Jazz Doctor's, now I discover there are live shows in existence... salivating. Thanks and congratulations on a fine blog.

serviceton said...

Extraordinary that even *one new face* in the audience might prompt the artist on stage to come over and say hello!
I bumped (literally)into Regina Carter once at the bar and *I* said hello (or 'excuse me and hello') and she was gracious - but that's kind of different..
That you became a fan for life after seeing that show farosanderson, says a lot about BB's musical effect on people I think. Another Kind of Groove is a groove-laden excursion ! Thanks for your comment - If you get stuck and can't find the live Jazz Doctors, yell out and we can organize such a thing i'm sure

Bhowani said...

Thank you for this share and for your texts also !

jackalope said...

Thank you for this beautiful memorial to Billy Bang. Also to all those who've posted thoughtful comments. Sometimes I learn from them - in this case I'd never heard of The Jazz Doctors. There is a post over at Inconstant Sol of their lp "Intensive Care" and the first link is still live so I'm going to give it a go. I'm getting started with this one and must say the rip is excellent and the scans are too. (I don't know how you got such a good shot of the lp labels, but it's a pleasure to see them) I am so glad that when the business neglects great music folks like yourself keep it alive this way. I do have some of his commercially available music and very much appreciate each of them for their individual qualities (his discs seem to each have a life of their own). I may be late to the party, but I'm having a good time!

serviceton said...

Bhowani, jackalope - thanks for your comments you made - appreciated.
The LP inner labels I would only scan if they are unusual or distinctive in some way - like these one's are - in a good way!
jackalope, I wish it were as simple as 'the business' neglecting music whilst we "crusaders" spotlite it, but I fear it is more complicated (and far more gloom-laden)than that.
The rip of the Jazz Doctors 'Intensive Care' on inconstant sol was mine - so if the links there prove problematic, yell out and we can fix it I'm sure- either here or over at that more august location.
Can I recommend you check out Bang's 'Sweet Space' record which owombat posted over there as well yesterday - it's really great !

onxidlib said...

PLease enlight me, Serviceton.

What is "more august location"?
Your "idiomatic expressions" make me smile :) and leave me curious.

And some good news - there will be soon a release of Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble with the title "Black Man's Blues" on No Business Records.

A 2CD set + essay + photos + flyers + more. Also on vinyl.

serviceton said...

Ah! - it's 'august' as an adjective not a noun - meaning "having great importance, especially of the highest social class" (obviously, as per the esteemed nobility of inconstant sol..) I got this definition from
(Sorry about forcing the imperialism of English on everybody here.)
That No Business release sounds most intriguing ! I see nothing about it yet on their website though (18/06/11) Perhaps soon. If it covers anything I posted here, I will take down the links.

Arcturus said...

this is a sweet recording, eh?

(tho I suppose I'm so adequately smitten to as to be unable to think of a BB recording I don't enjoy . . .)

thanks for *your* loving write-ups/reviews/homages

I've got a Jazz Docs performance from 1983-10-13, Kresslesmuehle, Augsburg -- waht else is out there to look for?

serviceton said...

Almost a fortnight later - Jazz Doctors in Wuppertal [83/10/25] - the gig where supposedly, Bang punched Denis Charles in the mouth on stage, knocking out a tooth (this only after the first tune!).
Notwithstanding the purported violence, the complete show was recorded, and is great.
Others dates too . . . . (?) . . .

indigo amatista said...

hello, first of all a big THANK YOU for all the great music recordings and insights shared till now...

pretty recently beggining to discover the artistry of Billy Bang, i just ask for a re upload on this one... from Southamerica where , as you may guess, these are not too much available material
( hoping my english doesnt sucks too much, haha)

Thanxz again

serviceton said...

Hey indigo amatista - nice to hear from you.
here's a re-up of Changing Seasons

I think that some of these should be available to you in Sth America
- the downloads I have tried (WAV files) from the Black Saint / Soul Note catalogues have been good and cheap.
And Billy Bang's largest, most important body of work