ROIO of the Week
[Recordings of Indeterminate Origin]

For the month of January, we honor the late Derek Bailey’s works with music as alien to you as it was intimate to him. Not a bit of wall paper.


DEREK BAILEY R.I.P.

Guitarist Derek Bailey died in London on Christmas Day, Dec 25 2005. He had been suffering from motor neuron disease. His last album, Carpal Tunnel (released this year) discusses the muscular illness, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which developed in his right hand, rendering him unable to grip a plectrum. Bailey rose above the irony by relearning guitar playing through utilising his right thumb and index fingers to pluck the strings.

Famed for his work on improvisational music, Bailey also co-founded, in 1970, the record label Incus with Tony Oxley and Evan Parker, often said to be the first British independent label owned by musicians.

This naturally progressed into the co-founding of Musics magazine in 1975. It became one of the most influential jazz publications in England, and instrumental for the formation of the London Musicians Collective.

Bailey's improv musician community grew in 1976 when he formed Company, to include like-minded improvisors, such as Anthony Braxton, Lol Coxhill, Fred Frith, Steve Lacy, Leo Smith, Han Bennink, Henry Kaiser and others who gave annual concerts.

Bailey once suggested to critic John Corbett that his music should just be called "free," so that the term would have four letters like "jazz" and "rock," but be neither. As Bailey said: "Four letter words are good for music, it seems to me, if you want to nail something onto it."

In the book, Extended Play (Duke University Press, 1994) by John Corbett, Bailey talks about the development of his playing influences: "Some of the characteristics that I find attractive in the area of free playing are similar to the things that I liked about the band business years ago. I mean, I started playing in the ‘40s, late ‘40s. And everything was fine for me until I suppose, the very early ‘60s, or even by the late ‘50s. Essentially, what happened was the rock and roll change.

"When rock and roll came along for a working musician particularly playing guitar, everything was transformed…the essential difference was that before the change people who listened to music, popular music (the most accessible music, regular music) weren't schooled to listen to recorded music. They didn't expect to be totally familiar with it. If you were playing in a dance hall in 1952, you could play for most of the evening and you might be playing all kinds of rubbish, but it was your rubbish to some degree.

"Ten years later, if you were working in a dance hall or nightclub, everything had changed drastically. Everything you played had to be totally familiar to the people not listening to it, if you see what I mean. You're still wallpaper but you had to be exactly the kind of wallpaper which these people surrounded themselves with at home."

This week we offer Derek & The Ruins live at the Purcell Rooms, South Bank, London, Apr 3 1997.




Click on the panels to download artwork

Derek Bailey & The Ruins
The Purcell Rooms
South Bank, London
April 3, 1997

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality, stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released.

 
Track 01 Improvisation A (5.3MB)
Track 02 Improvisation B (6.8MB)
Track 03 Improvisation C (7.2MB)

The Ruins are Sasaki Hisashi on bass and Yoshida Tatsuya on drums and voice. The above show was part of a broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Mixing It programme.

Click on the link to order Derek Bailey albums.




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