50 Violins for Leroy Jenkins
Angel Orensanz Center
New York, NY
June 19-24, 2007
In a class of its own, with a sound like no other group in the festival, was the Fifty Violins in dedication to the much lamented Leroy Jenkins, led and conducted by Billy Bang and coordinated by Jason Kao Hwang. Bang's transformation of a brief Jenkins score into a 40-minute musical journey of intensity and majesty was the biggest surprise of the festival; under his shaping guidance a homophonic Jenkins piece evolved into a multi-planed study of counterpoint, texture and energy distribution, with many fine solos and ensemble passages of raw power and overwhelming grace. The players—violinists, violists, cellists and bassists—included everyone from Henry Grimes, on violin, to Ramsey Amin, whose presence was appreciated by those who remember fondly his late '70s work with Cecil Taylor.
- Marc Medwin, All About Jazz, August 12, 2007