Derek Bailey

Derek Bailey

Real Name:
Derek Bailey
Profile:
b : January, 29th, 1930 (Sheffield) / d : December, 25th, 2005 (London)
Derek Bailey was one of the most influential and adventurous experimental guitarist to come from England, evolving out of the trad-jazz scene of the fifties into the avant/jazz scene in '60s London. By the late sixties he was a member of the Joseph Holbrooke Trio, Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Music Improvisation Company which later became the amorphous Company under his leadership. These groups were at the birth and center of the British free-jazz scene. Derek Bailey and Evan Parker started their own record label called Incus Records in the early seventies, one of the first artist-run outfits.
Although Derek played with the best members of the British free/jazz scene, he also forged relationships with a number of European players like Han Bennink & Peter Brötzmann, Japanese free players like Abe Kaoru, Toshinori Kondo, as well as American improvisers like Anthony Braxton, George Lewis and John Zorn to name a few.
Derek organized an annual festival called Company Week in the 80's & 90's, which brought together a unique group of international improvisers from varied backgrounds.
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Derek Bailey Discography

Albums

Evan Parker / Derek Bailey / Han Bennink Evan Parker / Derek Bailey / Han Bennink - The Topography Of The Lungs (Album) Incus Records UK 1970 Sell This Version
David Holland* / Derek Bailey David Holland* / Derek Bailey - Improvisations For Cello And Guitar (Album) ECM Records Germany 1971 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey Solo Guitar (Album) Incus Records UK 1971 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey Lot 74 - Solo Improvisations (Album) Incus Records UK 1974 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey Improvisation (Album) Cramps Records Italy 1975 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey / Evan Parker Derek Bailey / Evan Parker - The London Concert (Album) Incus Records UK 1975 Sell This Version
Bailey*, Frith*, Fitzgerald*, Reichel* Bailey*, Frith*, Fitzgerald*, Reichel* - Guitar Solos 2 (Album) Caroline UK 1976 Sell This Version
20 Derek Bailey / Tristan Honsinger Derek Bailey / Tristan Honsinger - Duo(LP, Album) Incus Records 20 UK 1976 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey & Andrea Centazzo Derek Bailey & Andrea Centazzo - Drops (Album) Ictus Records Italy 1977 Sell This Version
Misha Mengelberg, Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker, Peter Bennink, Paul Rutherford (2), Derek Bailey, Han Bennink Misha Mengelberg, Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker, Peter Bennink, Paul Rutherford (2), Derek Bailey, Han Bennink - Groupcomposing (Album) Instant Composers Pool Netherlands 1978 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey Duo & Trio Improvisation (Album) Kitty Records Japan 1978 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey Solo (Album) Incus Records Japan 1978 Sell This Version
ICP 005 Misha Mengelberg, John Tchicai, Han Bennink, Derek Bailey Misha Mengelberg, John Tchicai, Han Bennink, Derek Bailey - Fragments(LP, Album) Instant Composers Pool ICP 005 Netherlands 1978 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey New Sights, Old Sounds / Solo Live (Album) Morgue Japan 1979 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey Domestic & Public Pieces - Solo Guitar Improvisations (1975-6) (Album) Quark Records & Books US 1979 Sell This Version
34 Derek Bailey / Tony Coe Derek Bailey / Tony Coe - Time(LP, Album) Incus Records 34 UK 1979 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey Aida (Album) Incus Records UK 1980 Sell This Version
PTR/JWD 06 Sven-Åke Johansson / Alexander von Schlippenbach / Derek Bailey / Günter Christmann / Wolfgang Fuchs / Paul Lovens / Candace Natvig / Maarten Van Regteren Altena* Sven-Åke Johansson / Alexander von Schlippenbach / Derek Bailey / Günter Christmann / Wolfgang Fuchs / Paul Lovens / Candace Natvig / Maarten Van Regteren Altena* - Idylle Und Katastrophen(LP) Po Torch Records PTR/JWD 06 Germany 1980 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey, Christine Jeffrey Derek Bailey, Christine Jeffrey - Views From 6 Windows (Album) Metalanguage US 1981 Sell This Version
37 Maarten Altena / Derek Bailey / Barry Guy / George Lewis / Paul Lovens / Paul Lytton / Evan Parker / Paul Rutherford (2) / Giancarlo Schiaffini / Phil Wachsmann* Maarten Altena / Derek Bailey / Barry Guy / George Lewis / Paul Lovens / Paul Lytton / Evan Parker / Paul Rutherford (2) / Giancarlo Schiaffini / Phil Wachsmann* - PISA 1980: Improvisors' Symposium(LP) Incus Records 37 UK 1981 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey / Jamie Muir Derek Bailey / Jamie Muir - Dart Drug (Album) Incus Records UK 1981 Sell This Version
ML 117, Beak Doctor 6 Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Henry Kaiser, Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, Greg Goodman, Toshinori Kondo, Andrew Voigt Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Henry Kaiser, Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, Greg Goodman, Toshinori Kondo, Andrew Voigt - Metalanguage Festival Of Improvised Music 1980 - Volume 2: The Science Set(LP) Metalanguage, The Beak Doctor ML 117, Beak Doctor 6 US 1981 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey / George Lewis / John Zorn Derek Bailey / George Lewis / John Zorn - Yankees (Album) Celluloid France 1982 Sell This Version
Derek Bailey Concert In Milwaukee (Album) Not On Label (Derek Bailey Self-released) UK 1983 Sell This Version
48 Derek Bailey Notes: Solo Guitar Improvisations(LP) Incus Records 48 UK 1985 Sell This Version

Reviews

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Bradx

Bradx

August 25, 2014
edited over 2 years ago
The first time I ever heard Derek Bailey was on the Virgin Caroline album Guitar Solos 2. I was more of a Fred Frith fan at the time and bought the album, really, because I already had Guitar Solos 1 (which is all Frith). I was immmediately struck by the Hans Reichel tracks on Solos 2. I loved his hammering/slurring style and I liked the cartoon pictures on the reverse sleeve of the album - depicting his home-made guitar (two guitar necks joined end-to-end with the bodies thrown in the bin). I am still a massive Hans Reichel fan, I have all the vinyl albums he made on FMP (and the rare 7" single) and I even managed to communicate with him briefly, by email, just before he died.

The Derek Bailey tracks on Solos 2 didn't hit me at the time. I couldn't hear them. They seemed barely there. Compared to the vigour of Hans Reichel - well there was no comparison. However - time goes on, things change. The next DB album I heard was 'Improvisation' on the Italian Cramps label. This is a brilliantly recorded record, a little more upfront than Solos 2, and the genius of DB started to come through to me.
Every time I played the record I heard something new. I realised that every sound on the album - every rasp, stutter, scrape and chime - was very deliberately done. In the split-second-moment of improvisation DB decided that sound should be there. I like the story that he recorded all 14 tracks in one day - the other three days he drank wine in the studio on their time.

After that I had the good fortune to buy a collection of Company albums on DB's own Incus label, plus the formidable 'Drops' duo set with percussionist Andrea Centazzo and a Music Improvisation Company album on ECM (before that record company went easy listening).
All the time I was listening to DB's contributions - his challenges to the other players and the unique handling of his instrument.
Free improvisation is like a conversation - and the best conversations should be volatile and contradictory. There's no point in just agreeing - that's just bland.

I would recommend the Ben Watson book as a great read: "Derek Bailey & the Story of Free Improvisation' as well as Dereks' own book "Improvisation Its Nature and Practise in Music". Both shed enormous amounts of light on his motivation for making music the way he did.

As far as his music is concerned - get hold of 'Improvisation' on Cramps. Its been reissued so is now easy to get. A wonderful and sublime record. If you want to hear him at the birth of free improv, so to speak, and in a group context then seek out the Tony Oxley albums 'The Baptised Traveller', 'Ichnos' and '4 Compositions for Sextet'. Original vinyl copies are fantastically rare - but cds or downloads are easy to get.
All the Company albums are recommended too. Have a look at the Incus Records site - there's lots of good stuff on there.

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