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Derek Bailey: Standards

Mark Corroto By

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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 a holiday dinner in 2001. It was only after Bailey returned to the UK that he suggested the release of Ballads, thirteen much shorter and seemingly more concise songs.

Like the previous session, these tracks take on—you guessed it—Derek Bailey's outsider vision of standards. Reading the track titles gives you an insight into his play on words and music. "Gone with the Wind becomes "Frankly My Dear I Don't Give a Damn and "You Go to My Head becomes simply "Head.

Also like Ballads, there are references to the melodies on Standards, but sometimes only in passing. Bailey translates via Bailey; sentimental at times, and at other moments only skirting the edges of affection. Listen closely, and you might miss the "tune. Back away and allow the music to wash over you—free of measure, free of form—and the melody appears. Arguably, his playing cannot be taught, classified or formalized—and thankfully, never co-opted.


Track Listing: Nothing New; Frankly My Dear I Don

Personnel: Derek Bailey: solo acoustic guitar.

Title: Standards | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Tzadik


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