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Post Improvisation, Vol.2: Air Mail Special

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Album Review

The second volume of sonic correspondence between the two grizzled but forever-young masters of free improvisation opens with the birds in the guitarist's backyard happily chirping away, eventually to be joined by some clattering by Bennink, string wiping by Bailey, and the occasional passing truck. It sounds as though Bailey took the lead in these improvs, mailing his creations (replete with vocal asides and jokes, shuffling around the room, etc.) to Bennink for his added commentary. Whatever the precise method, the results are as enjoyable as one would expect from a conversation between the wily old cohorts. Bailey is in a creative form similar to several other of his wonderful '90s outings like Takes Fakes and Dead She Dances and Bennink reins in his tendency toward bombastics, staying on the subtly liquid side of his arsenal, emphasizing rapid, tiny sounds. For fans of either musician, it's hard to go wrong here. As in the first volume, the recording shows two stalwart veterans, at this juncture some 35 years into the business, retaining the creativity and vitality that earned them their reputations in the first place. If anything, their justly acquired sense of relaxation makes this a delight to wallow in. Recommended.


Born: 29 January 1930 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

At first glance, Derek Bailey possesses almost none of the qualities one expects from a jazz musician -- his music does not swing in any appreciable way, it lacks a discernible sense of blues feeling -- yet there's a strong connection between his amelodic, arhythmic, atonal, uncategorizable, free-improvisatory style, and much free jazz of the post-Coltrane era. His music draws upon a vast array of resources, including indeterminany, rock & roll, and various world musics. Indeed, this catholic acceptance...
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Post Improvisation, Vol.2: Air Mail Special, Derek Bailey
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