All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Bruise: Bruise With Derek Bailey

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
A breathtaking, deep-space adventure in sonic exploration, Bruise With Derek Bailey documents the last British concert given by free improvisation auteur Derek Bailey. The performance presents the veteran guitarist with a lineup some one or two generations younger than himself, playing alongside heirs to the tradition he helped create in the 1960s and 1970s. It is magnificent music and an important historical document.

Recorded at the 291 Gallery in Hackney, London in August 2004, Bailey was 74 going on 24 and suffering from motor neuron disease, complications from which would lead to his death last December. Bailey was already challenged by diminishing dexterity—he was no longer able to grip a plectrum, for example—but the crystalline, shards-of-glass style he more or less invented for the guitar, and the torrent of ideas and inventions which characterised his work, showed no signs of decline.

The three track titles—"Search," "Locate," Destroy"—are from a motto of Bailey's, and aren't literal descriptions of the album's progression. True, "Search" starts things off in a relatively tentative fashion, led by Bailey and bass saxophonist Tony Bevan, and "Locate" and "Destroy" do progressively raise the assertion and the volume, but light and shade, clamour and reflection, and a collective galaxy of textural variation distinguish each of the tracks.

Bruise, as demonstrated on last year's superb Bruised, is amongst the UK's most thrilling improvising bands—and a real band: they won't accept bookings unless all five members are available (no deps). Already in largely uncharted territory with Bevan's bass saxophone, they venture even further out through the inspired inclusion of multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson, often heard on digitally mutated marimba and steel drum; and revolutionary Spring Heel Jack electronicist Ashley Wales, who was also responsible for the fine audio quality of this recording, using a single stereo microphone straight to DAT. Bassist John Edwards and drummer Mark Sanders (who are also members of the Spring Heel Jack project, along with other leading British improvising groups) are vital contributors too, equally creative in forceful attacking mode or passages of pastel delicacy.

A startling and spring fresh cosmos of sound, the album was fully authorised for release by Bailey, and it's a major addition to both his own and Bruise's discographies.

Track Listing: Search; Locate; Destroy.

Personnel: Derek Bailey: electric guitar; Tony Bevan: bass saxophone; Orphy Robinson: electronics, steel drum and percussion, trumpet; Ashley Wales: electronics and soundscapes; John Edwards: double bass; Mark Sanders: drums and percussion.

Title: Bruise With Derek Bailey | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Foghorn Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Whisper to the Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Whisper to the Wind
by Jim Olin
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Storm" CD/LP/Track Review Storm
by Jim Olin
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Big Man on Campus" CD/LP/Track Review Big Man on Campus
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "Chants To The Sea - The Corium project" CD/LP/Track Review Chants To The Sea - The Corium project
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 30, 2018
Read "The Songbook Project" CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018