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Album Review

Derek Bailey exuded an earthy charm: iconoclastic, brooding, and brilliant, he was also fiercely individualistic, and all of these qualities are in full force here. What is totally unexpected, however, is how well Italian percussionist Andrea Centazzo synchronizes with the guitarist. Bailey was sui generis, so off the beaten track that the only school in which he could be placed is not part of the umbrella of jazz, but falls within the genre of strictly free improvisation — and even within that realm, Bailey was wonderfully eccentric, his performances eschewing preconceived structures. Centazzo fulfills the seemingly impossible task of performing a duet with Bailey by jumping into the fray, listening closely, and letting the guitarist generally lead. The results are remarkable, as each performer sounds like the alter ego of the other. Bailey performs so percussively that sometimes it is difficult to tell who is who, in part because there is such an incredible diversity of sound. Nothing is static, as not only does volume fluctuate but there are no fixed tempos, and whether the guitarist and percussionist are bouncing ping-pong balls or simply "jamming," the only constant is the element of surprise. As to be expected, this is music of extremes, and a full-length recording of Bailey is difficult listening for most people. The addition of Centazzo adds immeasurably to the curb appeal while he and Bailey create a tapestry of chaos that coalesces into a weird miasma of exotic sounds without diluting the radical nature of the music. It remains exasperating, free, fascinating, and at times astonishing, making it a fine addition to Derek Bailey's discography and a strong demonstration of the skills of Andrea Centazzo.


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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Drops, Derek Bailey
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