The truly hard-core fans of free jazz guitarist, Derek Bailey, may shudder a bit when they read the lineup for Mirakle. Once again, the UK’s most famous anti-swinging noise generator has teamed up with seemingly disparate styled partners. Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Calvin Weston are Philadelphia’s answer to all your funk needs. Tacuma, a gigantic electric bassist, was the harmolodic beat behind Ornette Coleman’s electric Prime Time band, before playing himself into near obscurity producing pop/funk dance records. Weston a member of John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, shared a role in Ornette’s and James Blood Ulmer’s bands with Tacuma. Their presence presupposes a rocked-out setting for the guitarist voted least likely to ever record a cover of James Brown’s “Sex Machine.”
For those coming to this recording from a modern jazz perspective, like me, this record is a great portal to Bailey’s music. Like his Guitar, Drums ‘n’ Bass record (Avant 1996) or to a lesser extent The Last Wave (DIW 1996) with Bill Laswell and Tony Williams, Bailey is found in a comfortable (for new listeners) context. Freedom, in jazz, is often just another word for nothing left to listen to, especially in recorded form. Live performance is another matter, but that is a discussion for another day. Free jazz in the context of drum ‘n’ bass, or here with funk lines drawn, becomes deceivingly accessible. Nodding to the beats is oh so easy, but what is Bailey doing behind the engine? His anti-groove, anti-swing, anti-harmonies persist, but are they influenced by or do they influence the funk? The answer is both. There is a sense of call-and-response to the music, or is it merely directional cues? Bailey’s intensity is at times ignored (and others acknowledged to by the pair). Besides the groove, sometimes Harmolodic or On The Corner, Tacuma opts for a shredded sound and Weston trades his rock beats for abstraction. That’s where the pair begins to follow Bailey into his world. So too can the listener follow along.
Track List:Moment; What It Is; This Time; Nebeula; Present; s’Now.