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Derek Bailey // Three Presences at Cafe Oto

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Simon H. Fell, Mark Wastell, Alex WardDerek Bailey // Three Presences Cafe OtoLondon March 2, 2018 Many people will have done a double-take upon seeing this evening in the Café Oto programme. Over twelve years after the much-loved guitarist Derek Bailey died on Christmas Day 2005, he seemed to be listed as appearing at the venue. On reading the small print, it became clear that the trio IST (bassist Simon H. Fell, cellist Mark ...


Craft Beer and Jazz

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As I type these words, I'm sitting here sipping on an Apricot Peach Orange Whip Mimosa Gose while listening to Derek Bailey's Improvisation LP. If you aren't aware of Bailey's work, he was a British guitarist who championed the European “free" style. All improv, all the time-with no structure to speak of. Many have argued that Bailey and his angular screech and skronk have no place in anything labeled jazz, or even music for that matter. Purists. Apricot ...


Derek Bailey

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Guitarist Derek Bailey was one of the more prominent and influential musicians from the “first generation of free improvisation" that developed in London in the mid-sixties and gradually promoted the music around the world. Although several members of that generation were leaders, Bailey often seemed the de facto leader of the group. Partly, this was a consequence of his being slightly older than others, Bailey having been born in 1930, compared to Tony Oxley (1938), Trevor Watts (1939), John Stevens ...


Various Brits: Just Not Cricket!

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In the 1972 Monty Python Flying Circus skit “Are You Embarrassed," the announcer reads the lines, “Are you embarrassed easily? I am. But it's nothing to worry about; it's all part of growing up and being British." The announcer goes on to describe embarrassing words like “Shoe" ..... “Megaphone" ..... “Grunties," to test the listener's discomfort level. Somehow, even though the words spoken (in English) by the troupe were in a common language, the humor was quite alien to American ...


Derek Bailey: Barcelona Chronicles

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Barcelona Chronicles is the collective title for two Incus DVDs and one CD which document guitarist Derek Bailey playing on three occasions in Barcelona between February 2004 and May 2005. Bailey had moved there from Hackney, London, in 2003. During the spring of 2004, he began experiencing muscular difficulties; in June 2004 he dropped his plectrum during a solo performance. He was initially wrongly diagnosed as having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In August 2005, he was diagnosed as having Motor Neuron ...


Derek Bailey: Standards

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In 2002 Bailey released one of his most unusual CDs, Ballads (Tzadik), a solo performance with him freely improvising on standards. This is a second installment, though this recording actually precedes Ballads. Liner notes by Karen Brookman-Bailey and John Zorn recall Christmas 2001: The Baileys--Derek in New York to pick up a “new guitar--invited Zorn and Ikue Mori to their suite for dinner. During the evening, Bailey took out the vintage Epiphone Emperor (an oversized acoustic archtop designed for big ...


Derek Bailey: Standards

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The world is a bit lonelier now that guitarist Derek Bailey has passed away. The freedom his music allowed is, or should be, a model to every musician and listener interested in the creative process.

This signature album, Standards, follows the 2002 Tzadik Records release of the infamous Ballads sessions, but was in fact recorded before those tracks. The liner notes reveal that these seven standards were made at the request of fellow musician and label head John Zorn after ...


Derek Bailey, Keiji Haino, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Carlos Santana: Five Gentlemen of the Guitar

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This looks like a cheaply produced bootleg--shoddy black and white cover, with no information other than personnel, track titles and the enigmatic line, “Turin, 2000. But--and it's a big but--the music is well recorded and sounds genuine; it sounds like these five were actually playing together, something that's hard to fake, no matter how good the editing.

It is easy to speculate how this meeting came about. Derek Bailey had played with Keiji Haino before and also recorded with Pat ...


Derek Bailey: To Play: The Blemish Sessions

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Much has been discussed and said about improvisation in every form. In its search for freedom from conventional and standard forms, improvised music has gone into all kinds of directions. The results cannot be described in conventional terms, since musicians headed this direction have done everything they can to subvert and discard the principles of music theory. While free jazz, which has been associated with free improv, has often remained anchored by using licks to structure the improvised material, free ...


Derek Bailey / Evan Parker: The London Concert

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By Ken Waxman

The London Concert, recorded in the mid-'70s, is a historical document which preserves mature manifestations of Bailey's sound, which continues to shape British improv. The Psi reissue adds thirty-odd minutes to the previously released 1975 LP version on the Incus label, boosting its length to more than 69 minutes. Still in their honeymoon period, Bailey and Evan Parker offered both solo and duo material, with the reedman playing soprano and tenor saxophones and Bailey playing a stereo ...