‘Lucky Man’: Musical encounters of Billy Bang

The triple LP soundtrack to the film 'Lucky Man' which tells the tale of veteran and violinist Billy Bang's return to Vietnam

BBE Music in association with IF Music present a triple 12” LP album sharing the music from the documentary film which follows jazz violinist and Vietnam veteran Billy Bang during his return to the battlefield 40 years after the War. The film ‘Lucky Man’ by Jean-Marie Boulet & Markus Hansen documents Billy Bang’s travels throughout Vietnam, this time armed with a violin rather than a rifle, as he sets out to address his traumas through culturally immersing himself and collaborating with local musicians.

The journey took place in 2008; taking him from Ho Minh City and the Mekong Delta, through to the highlands and the Banhar and Jorai gongs of the Montagnards, north across the 17th parallel, climaxing with ‘Mystery of Mekong’, his collaboration with the Hanoi Symphony Orchestra. This album ‘Lucky Man’ features recordings made during Billy Bang’s travels in Vietnam, all but one of which are improvised and testament to the aptness Billy had for connecting with people through music. Accompanying Billy’s musical encounters are the exclusive field recordings which document Billy’s inner thoughts and turmoil while on his brave return to this country, lovingly finessed by The Carvery’s Frank Merritt.

‘Billy knew that what had been done could not be undone, but he summoned his distinct creative, improvisational musical powers to invent each moment anew, forging and projecting his creative energy into the future. The Vietnamese people reciprocated: sensing Billy’s wish for closure, they did everything they could to help him, to reassure him, and to shine some light onto his heart of darkness.’ – Markus Hansen, ‘Lucky Man’ album sleeve notes

‘This album boldly documents the musical redemption, the journey to the light, that Billy Bang experienced as a result of that trip to the heart of darkness.’ – Paul Bradshaw, Straight No Chaser

‘Billy Bang – Lucky Man’ is available on 3LP vinyl, CD, and digital here.

The original documentary film is available to watch here.