Extending UK improvising guitarist Derek Bailey's 1980 solo album on his own Incus label with a full additional album of solo guitar recordings from the BBC in the same year, giving a fuller story of Bailey's development of his self-defined non-idiomatic improvisation, wonderfully commanding playing of great technical skill and clear intention.
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Label: Honest Jons Records
Catalog ID: HJR 205LP
Squidco Product Code: 26147
Format: 2 LPs
Side A recorded at Dunois, in Paris, France, on July 14th, 1980, by Jean-Marc Foussat.
Side B recorded at the ICA, in London, England, on August 3rd, 1980. by Adam Skeaping.
Sides C and D recorded at the BBC, in London, England, on may 28th, 1980.
First LP originally issued in 1980 on the Incus label as INCUS 40.
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• Show Bio for Derek Bailey
"Derek Bailey (29 January 1930 - 25 December 2005) was an English avant-garde guitarist and leading figure in the free improvisation movement.
Bailey was born in Sheffield, England. A third-generation musician, he began playing the guitar at the age of ten, initially studying music with his teacher and Sheffield City organist C. H. C. Biltcliffe, an experience that he did not enjoy, and guitar with his uncle George Wing and John Duarte. As an adult he worked as a guitarist and session musician in clubs, radio, dance hall bands, and so on, playing with many performers including Morecambe and Wise, Gracie Fields, Bob Monkhouse and Kathy Kirby, and on television programs such as Opportunity Knocks. Bailey's earliest foray into 'what could be called free improvised music' was in 1953 with two other guitarists in their shared flat in Glasgow. He was also part of a Sheffield-based trio founded in 1963 with Tony Oxley and Gavin Bryars called "Joseph Holbrooke" (named after the composer, whose work they never actually played). Although originally performing relatively "conventional" modal, harmonic jazz this group became increasingly free in direction.
Bailey moved to London in 1966, frequenting the Little Theatre Club run by drummer John Stevens. Here he met many other like-minded musicians, such as saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpet player Kenny Wheeler and double bass player Dave Holland. These players often collaborated under the umbrella name of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, recording the seminal album Karyobin for Island Records in 1968. In this year Bailey also formed the Music Improvisation Company with Parker, percussionist Jamie Muir and Hugh Davies on homemade electronics, a project that continued until 1971. He was also a member of the Jazz Composer's Orchestra and Iskra 1903, a trio with double-bass player Barry Guy and tromboneist Paul Rutherford that was named after a newspaper published by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
In 1970, Bailey founded the record label Incus with Tony Oxley, Evan Parker and Michael Walters. It proved influential as the first musician-owned independent label in the UK. Oxley and Walters left early on; Parker and Bailey continued as co-directors until the mid-1980s, when friction between the men led to Parker's departure. Bailey continued the label with his partner Karen Brookman until his death in 2005.
Along with a number of other musicians, Bailey was a co-founder of Musics magazine in 1975. This was described as "an impromental experivisation arts magazine" and circulated through a network of like-minded record shops, arguably becoming one of the most significant jazz publications of the second half of the 1970s, and instrumental in the foundation of the London Musicians Collective.
1976 saw Bailey instigate Company, an ever-changing collection of like-minded improvisors, which at various times has included Anthony Braxton, Tristan Honsinger, Misha Mengelberg, Lol Coxhill, Fred Frith, Steve Beresford, Steve Lacy, Johnny Dyani, Leo Smith, Han Bennink, Eugene Chadbourne, Henry Kaiser, John Zorn, Buckethead and many others. Company Week, an annual week-long free improvisational festival organised by Bailey, ran until 1994.
In 1980, he wrote the book Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice. This was adapted by UK's Channel 4 into a four-part TV series in the early '90s, edited and narrated by Bailey.
Bailey died in London on Christmas Day, 2005. He had been suffering from motor neurone disease."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Bailey_(guitarist))
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1 Niigata Snows
2 An Echo In Another's Mind
sample the album:
"At last, the vinyl reissue of this masterwork, adding two hitherto unreleased gems recorded solo for Charles Fox's Radio 3 programme Jazz in Britain, in the same few months of 1980 as the stunning Aida performances.
The phrase 'in the moment' is often bandied about with reference to free improvisation, and indeed there's no better way to describe Derek Bailey's playing. The acoustic guitar is notoriously lacking in natural reverberation - notes barely hang in the air for a couple of seconds before they disappear - which explains the almost non-stop flow of new material in these stellar performances. Bailey knew from one split-second to the next exactly where to find the same pitch on different strings, either as a stopped tone or a ringing harmonic, and there's never a note out of place. 'He who kisses the joy as it flies,' in the words of William Blake, 'Lives in eternity's sunrise' - and this music is forever in the moment, constantly active but never gabby, kissing the joy.
One of the special pleasures of the BBC set is the guitarist's own laconic commentary, a deliciously deadpan description of what he's doing while he's doing it - "I like to think of it... as a kind of music" - and the interaction between words and music is a particular delight. "You may have noticed a certain lack of variety," he quips, while unleashing a furiously complex volley. Is it a coincidence that the final seconds recall the famous cycling fifths of the coda to Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight"? Surely not - for Bailey, like Monk, was a note man par excellence. And they're both still alive and well in eternity's sunrise."-Honest Jon's Records
"Aida, consisting of two live recordings from 1980, captures Derek Bailey on the cusp between his early-career thorny and more drastic explorations of the outer limits of guitar playing and the subtler, softer (though no less idiosyncratic) approaches he would often employ later on. Throughout his career, Bailey has championed what he calls "non-idiomatic improvisation," an attempt to improvise without reference to any pre-existing musical styles. While perhaps impossible to achieve 100 percent, he has certainly made it difficult to describe his work with the normal allusions and comparisons to that of others. The first track on Aida, "Paris," is a gorgeous and relatively smooth excursion in Bailey's sound-world. One imagines that if England had a tradition of koto accompaniment for Noh plays, it might sound something like this. Not that there is an overt Asian influence, but the sparseness and careful choice of notes gives one a slight sense of both Eastern asceticism and luxury within that asceticism.
Though he has professed to not particularly enjoying solo playing, that circumstance is often the easiest introduction to Bailey's work. Aida is a remarkably beautiful entry to one of the world's masterful musicians. Indeed, he sounds like no one else."-Brian Olewnick, All Music
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