Courtesy Billy Bang, Michael Carvin
Justin Time Records
Bang during a recording session for Vietnam: The Aftermath.
Billy Bang's experience was not unusual for urban teens in the 1960s. He was drafted after high school and sent to Vietnam. What Bang has made of that experience, however, is perhaps one of the most remarkable albums in recent years, says Howard Mandel in a report for Weekend Edition Saturday.
Bang has spent the last 30 years establishing himself as one of the most respected violinists playing jazz today. Like many vets, he brought the war home with him — and avoided confronting his wartime experiences.
With his new album, Vietnam: The Aftermath, he's no longer trying to forget. In pieces such as "TET Offensive" and "Mystery of the Mekong," he tries to bring back the sounds and sensations of the Southeast Asian conflict. Mandel reports that the recording is helping to heal the veterans who played on it and those who hear it.
A portion of the proceeds from the CD benefits the nonprofit veterans' aid organization, Veteran's Quality of Life Access Network.