Bang on a Can / Don Byron

A Ballad for Many

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A Ballad for Many Review

by Scott Yanow

The Bang on a Can All-Stars is a sextet of musicians drawn from a larger orchestra that specializes in debuting new music, much of which would be considered modern classical music. On A Ballad for Many, the group performs some of the works of jazz clarinetist Don Byron. Their set consists of six sketches from "Eugene" (a live accompaniment to a silent episode of Ernie Kovacs' Show), nine brief selections from his soundtrack to a documentary on the Tuskegee Airmen, and five other pieces. Byron makes appearances on three of the numbers, but otherwise the focus is on Bang on a Can's interpretations of his originals. The music is episodic, a bit incomplete without the picture (since most of the music is actually soundtracks) and colorful if not quite essential.

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