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DVD/Video/Film Reviews

Derek Bailey: Barcelona Chronicles

By Published: July 31, 2009

Production Notes: 23 minutes. Recorded July 26th, 2004 on a rooftop in Barcelona. Filmed by Andy Davies, Robert Iolini & Lluis Escartin. Directed and Post-production by Andy Davies.

Derek Bailey and Agusti Fernandez
Barcelona Chronicles No. 03: A Silent Dance

Bailey and pianist Agusti Fernandez had recorded the duo album Barcelona (Hopscotch Records, 2003) in Barcelona in November 2001, a visit that was influential in Bailey's decision to relocate to the city. So, it was fitting that this last public performance was again a duo performance with Fernandez. Recorded at the magnificent Gaudi-designed building known as La Pedrera, there is an appropriate sense of occasion about the event. Bailey always spoke of the virtues of playing with others ("in company") over playing solo. The solo playing on the DVDs is mighty fine, but this duo does highlight another side of Bailey's playing.

Initially, Bailey and Fernandez are both tentative and restrained here. Neither seems keen to step into the limelight. The CD is well titled; it feels as if the two are indulging in a slow shuffle to check out if they can manage to dance together. Gradually they decide that they can and things warm up considerably. However, they still allow each other plenty of space and do not rush or crowd each other, giving the whole CD a slowly-evolving, languid feel to it. A fine way to bow out of live performance.

Personnel: Derek Bailey: electric guitar; Agusti Fernandez: piano.

Tracks: Two tracks, untitled.

Motor Neuron Disease eventually led to Derek Bailey's death on Christmas Day 2005, aged 75. Barcelona Chronicles is the first release of new material on Incus since then, and serves as a fitting memorial to this wonderful musician and great human being. The DVDs and CD are available separately, but they complement each other very well and together form a coherent document. This trilogy seems highly likely to be one of the year's best releases.

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