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Music and Dance

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Album Review

Min Tanaka is a dancer, and although one can hear the sporadic shuffling or stomping of feet or the slapping of hands against a wall, one gets the impression that Derek Bailey is being more directly influenced by the dance movements themselves and adjusting his improvisations accordingly. A photo inside the disc package shows Bailey walking and playing around Tanaka who, in this instance, is huddled nude, pressing himself into a wall.

The ambience of the recording site, a glass-ceilinged, abandoned forge in Paris, plays the other significant role here. Several minutes into the first track, a heavy rainstorm erupts, creating a low roar that briefly threatens to overwhelm the music. Bailey, with his classic English ability to take things in stride, simply uses the sound as material to work with and accompanies the downpour with aplomb. When the leaking roof causes a small fusillade of water drops, these too are incorporated into the fabric of the piece, and quite beautifully. In fact, on occasion Bailey sits out entirely, allowing the rain splatters, the dancer's movements and the passing car engine to fully inhabit the sound space.

As is the case with many of his releases, Bailey consistently amazes the listener both with his extraordinary ability to coax sounds from his guitar that may have never before been heard or imagined and, more importantly, his unerring sense of exactly when to utilize those sounds. While Bailey remains maligned in so-called traditional circles, it's clear that he's admired by one of the musicians most deeply involved with the entire tradition of the guitar.


Born: January 29, 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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Music and Dance, Derek Bailey
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