Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Perry Como with Derek Bailey: Uncharted Harmonies


Perry Como with Derek Bailey: Uncharted Harmonies


Sign in to view read count
Perry Como with Derek Bailey: Uncharted Harmonies
Imagine, if you will, the musical equivalent of a black-tie gala crashing into an abstract art exhibit. This is Uncharted Harmonies, where Perry Como, the man whose voice could soothe a charging bull, meets Derek Bailey, a guitarist who thinks musical notes are too mainstream. Together, they have created an album that is as unlikely as finding a Picasso in a thrift shop. It was recorded after hours at the Village Vanguard in 1974 on reel-to-reel tape.

From the get-go with "Whispered Echoes," it is clear we are not in Kansas anymore. Como serenades, his voice smoother than a buttered slide, while Bailey counters with guitar riffs that sound like he is solving a Rubik's cube with his strings. It is an auditory odd couple, a musical mismatch made in heaven, or a very avant-garde corner of purgatory.

Tracks like "Melodic Dissonance" and "Harmonic Revolutions" are less like songs and more like debates where notes are arguments, and frankly, it seems like Bailey's guitar might be winning. Yet, Como's unflappable croon keeps everything grounded, reminding one of a serene pilot navigating through a storm of sonic apathy.

Then there is "Silent Conversations," the album's emotional apex, where Como and Bailey engage in a dialogue so profound, that words would only ruin the moment. It is like watching a mime and a street preacher somehow finding common ground. Here, the fusion of Como's vocal warmth with Bailey's cold, experimental edge crystallizes into something unexpectedly touching.

Critics might scoff, suggesting that pairing Como's silk with Bailey's sandpaper is like expecting a cat to walk like a dog. Yet it is this incongruity that injects the album with its charm. Uncharted Harmonies does not just cross genre boundaries; it leaps over them with the grace of a gazelle wearing clown shoes.

Perry Como and Derek Bailey have not just made an album; they have concocted a musical monstrosity that is as mesmerizing as it is mad. The album stands as a towering testament to the power of unlikely collaborations, serving up a feast of sounds that is as nutritious for the soul as it is baffling for the brain. So hats off (and possibly eyebrows raised) to this daring duo for reminding us that in the world of music, there is always room for a little more "weirdness."

Track Listing

Whispered Echoes; Melodic Dissonance; Harmonic Revolutions; Silent Conversations; My Funny Frankenstein; Euripides You Pay for These; Old Man River; When Smoke Gets in Your Nostrils.


Album information

Title: Uncharted Harmonies | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Self Produced

Gotcha! April Fools!



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


September Night
Tomasz Stańko
A Different Light
Carl Clements
Cubop Lives!
Zaccai Curtis
Beautiful Moons Ago
The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.