Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


' (nonidiomatic ".")
December 26, 2005 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Derek Bailey has died. Here's an interview with him from 2001, and another about playing in Japan. Bailey was considered by many to be the father of free improvisation, beginning with his band Joseph Holbrooke, with Tony Oxley and Gavin Bryars, and, in addition to his voluminous discography, is the author of a book on the nature of improvisation.
posted by kenko (26 comments total)

 
Shit, must have had a malformed link in there.
Was supposed to begin "pioneering guitarist and improviser", etc.
posted by kenko at 11:07 AM on December 26, 2005


I have great respect for the late Mr. Bailey and his work. Thank you for posting this sad news.

Without taking away from his accomplishment at all, however, I have to point out that it would be an overreach to credit Bailey with the invention of free jazz, which certainly originated in the pioneering experiments of black musicians like John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Sam Rivers, Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders in the US (with white fellow-travellers like the astonishing Scott LaFaro), as the linked article points out. Bailey is properly recognized as a primary free-jazz pioneer in the UK, inspired by the musicians I mentioned.

But yes, as music is a global conversation, Bailey was one of the most articulate free voices of the last century.
posted by digaman at 11:15 AM on December 26, 2005


Well, you can usefully distinguish between free/nonidiomatic improvisation as opposed to free jazz. (Not that I want to start an argument or anything—anyway there's also the more or less contemporaneous activities of the AACM to add to your list.)
posted by kenko at 11:21 AM on December 26, 2005


Well, you can usefully distinguish between free/nonidiomatic improvisation as opposed to free jazz.

That's a very good point, but in the bravest works in both genres, I'd have a hard time distinguishing between the two. But yes, I see your point.

there's also the more or less contemporaneous activities of the AACM to add to your list.

Absolutely.
posted by digaman at 11:24 AM on December 26, 2005


By the way, until I read this FPP I had no idea that Bryars and Bailey et. al. ever played together, which certainly explains a lot. Bryars' Farewell to Philosophy, featuring Ornette alumnus Charlie Haden, is one of my favorite "contemporary classical" albums. Thanks for that info, kenko.
posted by digaman at 11:27 AM on December 26, 2005


free jazz, which certainly originated in the pioneering experiments of black musicians like John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Sam Rivers, Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders in the US ... who put the final dozen or so nails into the coffin of jazz, so that the word "jazz" has become synonymous with tedium, predictability, and cultishness. Any genuine artist who hears the word "free improvisation," reaches for his gun.
posted by Faze at 11:37 AM on December 26, 2005


I see, Faze. Pointers appreciated to your art. A single one will do.
posted by digaman at 11:56 AM on December 26, 2005


I'm a great fan of his duet albums with Susie Ibarra, Bids and Daedal. Sad news.
posted by cribcage at 12:00 PM on December 26, 2005


sad news, a part of me is still hoping it's just a rumor.
posted by jann at 12:24 PM on December 26, 2005


Sorry to hear that; he was a brave musician with an endless appetite for exploration.

Faze, if I were you I'd be ashamed of myself for pissing in a funeral thread, but fortunately I'm not you.
posted by languagehat at 1:03 PM on December 26, 2005


Vale, Mr Bailey.
posted by Wolof at 2:07 PM on December 26, 2005


well, this has screwed my afternoon. Have any of you read Ben Watson's biography of Bailey that came out a year or so ago?

Faze, that's so cute! I bet you think painting ended with the pre-Raphaelites, huh?
posted by hototogisu at 2:10 PM on December 26, 2005


Very sad. Thanks for the links that go beyond the standard ObitFilter, kenko. I'd never read those interviews before, and they're quite good.
posted by .kobayashi. at 3:03 PM on December 26, 2005


.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:27 PM on December 26, 2005


.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:11 PM on December 26, 2005


.
posted by Eothele at 5:29 PM on December 26, 2005


I'll echo jann in that I hope this is just an unhappy rumor, but I suspect it is not.

The only silver lining in this cloud is that it has been a long time since I've visited Just for a Day. It's a wonderful blog that seems only to have improved with time.

Thanks for the reminder, kenko. I really enjoy your posts.
posted by LinnTate at 5:39 PM on December 26, 2005


Tribute show from WFMU.
posted by kenko at 10:58 PM on December 26, 2005


No it's true, confirmed by some of his closest friends at this point.

More details are emerging; the carpal-tunnel he (famously) came down with last year was an early sign of the motor neuron that did him in.

np: Aida, Derek Bailey
up next: Derek Bailey / Min Tanaka
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:56 AM on December 27, 2005


.
posted by gds at 1:57 AM on December 27, 2005


kenko - Thanks very much for the tribute show; I'm listening to it right now.
posted by languagehat at 5:36 AM on December 27, 2005


Gotta mention his collaboration with Ruins, Saisoro. On John Zorn's Tzadik label. Good stuff.

.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:57 AM on December 27, 2005


.
posted by Grangousier at 9:46 AM on December 27, 2005


Great musician. His book on improvization is one of those books that changed the way I thought in a very basic way. A world without him is poorer than before.
posted by Kattullus at 11:17 PM on December 27, 2005


NYT obit
posted by Eothele at 10:00 AM on December 31, 2005


.
posted by klausness at 6:03 PM on January 3, 2006


« Older There have been a number of urban exploration or m...  |  MAN - Mothers Against Noise.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments