Billy Bang / Billy Bang Sextet

The Fire from Within

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Cut during a ten-year run on the Italian Soul Note label, Billy Bang's The Fire From Within nicely shows off the violinist's unique approach to post-bop jazz from swingers to ballads, trad to free. Bang also demonstrates his very original Latin touch, highlighting cuts like "Nagual Julian" and "The New Seers" with shades of bolero moodiness and mambo syncopation. Throughout the set -- all Bang originals -- a dusky hue predominates, whether on the up-tempo opener, "The Glow of Awareness," or a beautifully spacious ballad like "The Shift Below." Chalk part of this up to the psychedelic adventures of Carlos Castaneda, whose peyote-submerged accounts of the Yaqui Indians' herbal alchemy inspired Bang. Beyond the transcendent music, Bang pays homage by naming each song after one of the author's chapter titles. Adding to the heady atmosphere, trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah, marimba player Thurman Barker, and bassist William Parker ply their talents on several standout solos. A perfect entrée for Billy Bang newcomers.

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