On this special day, I am paying homage to Veterans Day by featuring an exceptional artist, a violinist, and a composer whom many may have no idea who the virtuous musician Billy Bings is. Over the years he’s recorded more than his fair share of albums, today I decided to showcase two relevant, transformative, and stellar recordings “Vietnam: The Aftermath & Vietnam Reflections” for jazz enthusiasts and curious-minded music lovers alike. Enjoy!!!
As a belated document of his traumatic experience as a soldier in Southeast Asia, Vietnam: The Aftermath was a painful but cathartic album for free jazz violin great Billy Bang to make. Joined by fellow Vietnam vets including tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe, trumpeter Ted Daniel, drummer Michael Carvin, and “conductionist” Butch Morris, Bang paints a harrowing picture of the conflict on “TET Offensive.” But employing Asian folk melodies like rays of sunshine through the darkness and sturdy bop lines as friendly arrows pointing the way back home, he offsets visions of death and destruction with humane insight and saving humor (then and now, there’s nothing like a little ’60s-styled “Saigon Phunk” to prop a grunt up).
Bolstered by some richly textured ensembles, Bang rips off some of his most impressive and stirring solos. The contributors also include pianist John Hicks and flutist Sonny Fortune. ~Lloyd Sachs | Amazon
Following his highly acclaimed 2001 album VIETNAM: THE AFTERMATH this sequel, VIETNAM REFLECTIONS, continues war veteran and jazz composer Billy Bang’s healing process in the best manner a musician can, by transforming experiences of war and the nightmares they spawned into the refined substance of exquisite beauty and profound musical artistry. ~Editoral Reviews | Amazon
Originally Released: May 4, 2005
At your leisure, do check out this two amazing gems “Vietnam: The Aftermath & Reflections” by Billy Bang.