Billy Bang Memorial Broadcast: Wednesday, April 13

Free jazz violinist and composer Billy Bang passed away April 11, 2011 at the age of 63. Born William Walker in 1947, Bang took up the violin briefly as a teenager before all but giving up on music after he was drafted into the military at the age of 18 and sent into combat in Vietnam. His experiences in the war affected him profoundly and would later be channeled into two celebrated albums, 2001’s Vietnam: The Aftermath and 2005’s Vietnam: Reflections. After returning home to New York, Bang rediscovered the violin, inspired by the unconventional use of the instrument by such artists as Leroy Jenkins and Ornette Coleman. Beginning in the mid-1970s Bang recorded and performed with like-minded musicians such as William Parker, Sun Ra, and Don Cherry. In 1977 he founded the String Trio of New York with John Lindberg and James Emery, a group with whom he would work and record extensively over the next 10 years. Throughout his career Billy Bang continued to cultivate a singular violin sound as a performer, improviser and composer and to expand the role of his instrument in jazz. Tune in Wednesday April 13th beginning at 5am, as WKCR honors the legacy of Billy Bang with 24 hours of his music.