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Billy Bang/William Parker: Medicine Buddha

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In 2009, two years before Billy Bang lost his battle with lung cancer, the violinist teamed up with bassist William Parker for a performance at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York. To hear Parker tell it in this album’s liner notes, the duo’s longstanding friendship involved not only shared musical sensibilities but humor and a sense of joie de vivre as well. Those feelings come across clearly on this set. Even with just two instruments, they create a rich, vibrant sound.

Bang plays a slow, rapturous melody over an arco bass drone in the title track, before leaving Parker to his own devices. With bow in hand the bassist fuses gentle and rough sonorities in a solo that could be described as career defining. His partner returns with equally furious bowing that opens new textural pathways for the violin. Before you realize it, 22 minutes have flown by.

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