|Following his highly acclaimed 2001 album Vietnam - The Aftermath, this sequel recording continues war veteran and jazz composer Billy Bang’s healing process in the best manner a musician can - by transforming experiences of war and the nightmares they spawned into the refined substance of exquisite beauty and profound musical artistry. While the previous album served as a catharsis for Bang, revisiting the emotional turmoil and chaotic terror of his wartime experiences, the aptly-titled Vietnam: Reflections offers a portrait of the changes that have occurred over the past 30 years in both Vietnam and America. Blending the objective overview of a mature artist with the passionate subjectivity of his own experiences, Billy has created a precious gem that offers deeper insights with each listening.
An outstanding ensemble of musicians includes four other Vietnam veterans and, intriguingly, two Vietnamese-born musicians. The vets include trumpeter Ted Daniel, drummer Michael Carvin, percussionist Ron Brown and conductor Butch Morris, as well as pianist John Hicks and bassist Curtis Lundy. Nhan Thanh Ngo’s stylings on dan tranh (a traditional finger-plucked dulcimer) and the haunting voice of Co Boi Nguyen perfectly blend into the music on four tracks, producing an authenticity and cohesion to the seamless synthesis of Vietnamese and Jazz musical traditions. Acclaimed reedmen Henry Threadgill and James Spaulding also guest on one and three tracks respectively.