Four Derek Bailey Albums

reviews by Stefan Verstraeten

Derek Bailey and Susie Ibarra  Daedal (Incus)

You have to have the guts to go as a drum player on a stage or into a recording studio and play duo with Derek Bailey. Yes, John Stevens was THE PERCUSSION player that could fit with Derek perfectly.  What to expect form Ibarra?  I am not familiar with her other recordings, so she was new to me.  And yes, these two go well together.  Derek is on electric guitar (this means a lot of power) but Ibarra knows how to handle it.  She doesn't answer with free-noise but most of the time very subtle playing....great.  Although I have one little remark: one can hear on the album that she really admires Derek Bailey.... this means that most of the time she follows the lead by Derek Bailey, and sometimes forgets that she is a player with her own way of playing.  But hey, I do not forget that is difficult to maintain your own style when playing with Bailey (remember the duo album with Keiji Haino, even this very atypical guitar player went along with Derek Bailey's style).  Conclusion: superb album, both players interact very well. Personally, this was a very good introduction for me to Ibarra.

Bailey-Rutherford-Guy  Iskra 1903 Chapter One (Emanem)

Yes, in the past Emanem brought us a CD by this superb trio, but here we get three (!!!) CDs.  The only negative thing to say is the sound quality. Most of these recordings were made live (sometimes audience recordings) and some parts are copied from the old Incus vinyl records.  But hey, it is on CD right now, so forget about the sound quality.  As a big Bailey fan (but hey, aren't we all?) I really dig this album: it has a very laid back, calm feel and so is Derek Bailey.  Not aggressive, harsh bursts of noise, but very subtle playing, almost melodic.  Perhaps strange to hear a trombone in this context, but hey, it works, so why complain?  Conclusion: A very fine record indeed, if you like Derek Bailey, but don't like his harsh playing, I say, go for this one.  This album can even be recommended for starters.

Bailey, Tacuma, Weston  Mirakle (Tzadik)

Man, what a blast.  Everyone should go for this album.  And if you have doubts: go in a record store and skip to number two (track title: What it
is).  What it is?  A very groovy steady beat, a phat bass, and on top of that Derek Bailey in a great form.  Wow, what an album.  The funny thing about this album is that it appeals to a lot of people, from funk to free jazz and noise rock.  I just can't say more: this album is great.  I immediately
thought of the Arcana album (with Tony Williams and Bill Laswell), but this album is more conventional, more rock/funk oriented...  SO GO BUY THIS ONE.

Derek Bailey & Steve Lacy  Outcome (Potlach)

My opnion on this record? A good album, that's for sure, but not a superb record.  I heard duo recording of these two before (Lacy recordings on Emanem, and I believe on FMP, not so sure about the last one since I don't have my records here with me), but I am not so convinced about this one. Reason: the two of them have very distinctive styles, ways of playing notes....  And yes, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  In my opinion, this album has more moments when Bailey and Lacy just go their own way.  Yes, the album has some moments where Bailey plays more melodic, and moments when Lacy goes beyond but not as often as one would hope.  Conclusion: if you are a big fan, go for it, but this album is not suited for those who occasionally buy records by Bailey.

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