Tuesday, January 03, 2006

eleven finger saulte

A few more glimpses into the work of Derek Bailey including a great interview with fellow guitarist Henry Kaiser from 1987. Here is a bit from the expanding Wikipedia entry on Bailey:

Eschewing labels such as 'jazz', Bailey prefered to describe his music as 'non-idiomatic'. To this end he collaborated with other players as diverse as Pat Metheny, John Zorn, Lee Konitz, David Sylvian, Cyro Baptista, Cecil Taylor, tap dancer Will Gaines, 'Drum 'n' Bass' DJ Ninj, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and the Japanese group Ruins. In fact despite often performing and recording in a solo context, he was far more interested in the dynamics and challenges of working with other musicians, especially those who did not necessarily share his own approach; "There has to be some degree, not just of unfamiliarity, but incompatibility [with a partner]. Otherwise, what are you improvising for? What are you improvising with or around? You've got to find somewhere where you can work. If there are no difficulties, it seems to me that there's pretty much no point in playing. I find that the things that excite me are trying to make something work. And when it does work, it's the most fantastic thing. Maybe the most obvious analogy would be the grit that produces the pearl in an oyster, or some shit like that."

Bailey was also known for his dry sense of humour. In 1977 Musics magazine sent the question "What happens to time-awareness during improvisation?" to about thirty musicians associated with the free improvisation scene. The answers received varied from highly theoretical page and a half essays to more direct comments. Typically pithy was Bailey's reply; "The ticks turn into tocks and the tocks turn into ticks."


Derek Bailey - Niigata Snow (1981)
Derek Bailey - Two 50 (1991)
Derek Bailey & Jamie Muir - Jara (1981)
Derek Bailey & Min Xiao-Fen - Bai Ha She (Viper) (1998)
Derek Bailey Interview by Henry Kaiser, KPFA
(2/7/1987)

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