Billy Bang / Bill Cole

Billy Bang / Bill Cole Duet Album


The critically acclaimed "Billy Bang / Bill Cole" duet album is a rare recording of a live performance given at the University of Virginia's Chapel in 2009. It features six improvised works performed live by Bill Cole on shehnai, nadaswaram, flute, didgeridoo, and Chinese suona and the late master Billy Bang on violin.


[Billy Bang and Bill Cole] create a wide range of colors and sonorities (the violin and shehnai combination is laden with overtones), and they weave in and around each other – each player displaying an ease with, and understanding of, the approach of the other player...These are two sensitive musicians who are in total communication with each other and who work towards new modes and forms of expression.”

— Chris Robinson

Two giants of music, two master improvisers, Bill Cole and Billy Bang, perform on stage a lively dialogue that’s very difficult to duplicate. In April of 2009 at the University of Virginia Chapel, in Charlottesville, Virginia, those lucky enough to enjoy their performance had much to gain from the synthesis of these two unique master craftsmen. Billy Bang, one of the more significant violinists of the northern musical world, who has worked with sacred figures of jazz (among others, James Emery, Sun Ra, Andrew Cyrille, Bill Laswell, Don Cherry, Marilyn Crispell, Ronald Shannon Jackson, James “Blood” Ulmer) and the very exceptional wind instrument player Bill Cole (who has worked with William Parker, Sam Rivers, Warren Smith and others) formulated creative ideas, with authenticity, feeling, passion and inspiration, and by working together applied their precise talent to serve a pioneering and fascinating music. Their excellent organized dialogues (violin from Billy Bang and various traditional wind instruments like digeridoo, nagaswarm, sona, flute, shenai from Bill Cole) attain unique dimensions and become a vehicle for an adventurous journey to the impenetrable soul. Without a doubt, this is one of the top combinations of Eastern and Western sound from two leading improvisers whose performance resulted in giving explosive dimensions to the audience – one genuine and substantial revelation of inner depth that can without geographic limits travel to the musical universe. Further, through the CD we become witness to all that were a part of it and understand the enthusiasm of the public that idolized with loud applause the six exciting actions of this leading duo.”

— John Mouggolias, Jazz & Tzaz Magazine

The didgeridoo and double reeds are not jazz instruments, and the violin is at the edge of jazz. But violinist Billy Bang and Asian double reed master Bill Cole have combined their oddly textured instruments into an interesting blend of avant-garde colors. The disc, recorded live at the University of Virginia Chapel, is haunting at times, and the echo-filled chapel a perfect setting for unencumbered music. Much of the disc is improvised, with the two guiding each other in various directions, all of them outside the musical norm. Some are sparse and spacious, like 'Shades of Kia Mia,' while others are thick and reedy, as on the flurry called 'Poverty is the Father of Fear.' This music is probably more interesting live. This isn't an easy listen, but it is unique.”

— Kyle O'Brien, Jazz Scene / Oregon's Jazz Magazine

It’s too bad that the sonic gems these two Bills create together aren’t available somewhere on the web (if YOU have links to any samples of the trax, please let me know right away). With that out of the way, I will simply say that the 6 long improvisations are gems from modern improvising masters. I especially enjoyed Bill Cole’s penetrating performance on the opener, “Digeridoo and Violin Improvisation”… what’s most unique about both of these players is the pace… there is nothing rushed in their playing, and you know from that – they have nothing to prove to anyone – they’ve GOT IT & they KNOW IT (without having to say so). This is a great CD for folks new to improvisation, as well as veteran listeners, but it will require your total & undivided attention and focus. I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”

— Dick Metacalf, Zzaj Productions (Issue #115)

A collection of intriguing compositions by both Cole and Bang, as well as tumultuous improvisations that emerged from the depths of each man's soul, this album will remain one of the most mystical confluences in music to be captured on record.... The otherworldly charm of the album makes it all the more enduring.”

— Raul D'Gama Rose, All About Jazz