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THE JAZZ LIFE

Jazz and the Rules of the Knife Fight

Read "Jazz and the Rules of the Knife Fight" reviewed by Peter Rubie

There's a great scene near the beginning of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, when Butch (Paul Newman) returns to the Hole in the Wall Gang and is challenged for leadership of the gang. As Butch and Harvey face off, Butch says to his enormous opponent, “Let's get the rules straight first." Harvey straightens in surprise for a moment and says, “Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!" The script then says, “Butch delivers the most aesthetically exquisite kick in ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Derek Bailey & Jamie Muir: Dart Drug

Read "Dart Drug" reviewed by Chris May

For decades as rare as hens's teeth--or should that be larks's tongues in aspic?--Dart Drug was originally released on the Incus label in 1981, and reissued on CD in 1994. In 2018 it has been remastered and rereleased on vinyl by Honest Jons. The bracing yet strangely beautiful album is one of the few recordings made by the percussionist Jamie Muir after he retired from professional music-making in 1973, first to study Buddhism in Scottish and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Derek Bailey & Company: Klinker

Read "Klinker" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Derek Bailey and Will Gaines had already recorded together on Rappin' & Tappin' (Incus, 1994) and on the video Will (1995), so this archival session, captured live on Thursday 24 August 2000, at The Klinker in London, presents a further opportunity to hear this odd couple. Gaines was 72 at the time of this concert and the old hoofer, originally from Baltimore, had shared stages in the '50s with the likes of Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Django Reinhardt ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Derek Bailey // Three Presences at Cafe Oto

Read "Derek Bailey // Three Presences at Cafe Oto" reviewed by John Eyles

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 ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Craft Beer and Jazz

Read "Craft Beer and Jazz" reviewed by Thad Aerts

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 ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Derek Bailey

Read "Derek Bailey" reviewed by John Eyles

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 ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Various Brits: Just Not Cricket!

Read "Various Brits: Just Not Cricket!" reviewed by Mark Corroto

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 ...

FILM REVIEWS

Derek Bailey: Barcelona Chronicles

Read "Derek Bailey: Barcelona Chronicles" reviewed by John Eyles

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Derek Bailey: Standards

Read "Standards" reviewed by Stuart Broomer

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Derek Bailey: Standards

Read "Standards" reviewed by Mark Corroto

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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

Read "Five Gentlemen of the Guitar" reviewed by John Eyles

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Derek Bailey: To Play: The Blemish Sessions

Read "To Play: The Blemish Sessions" reviewed by Nenad Georgievski

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 ...


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