Derek Bailey

Derek Bailey & Franz Hautzinger

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This eponymous CD is a good cross-generational session of free improv between guitar legend Derek Bailey and Franz Hautzinger, an Austrian trumpeter of the Austro-German reductionist conviction with two previous albums on the label Grob (the solo Gomberg and his group Dachte Musik's first release). The info printed on the digipack doesn't specify a recording date; the press release hints at January 2001. The digipack indicates it was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Toby Robinson in London and later remixed, remastered, and edited by Patrick Pulsinger in Vienna; the press release vaguely states that Hautzinger "repeatedly made tiny changes in the sound that outsiders probably will never perceive." What it actually means remains a mystery, but the important thing is that the album sounds very natural and spontaneous. If the tapes have been tampered with, it doesn't show. The session is as satisfactory as one could expect. Bailey's talent to adapt to any young player coming his way should be an inspiration to everyone else working on the free improv scene. Here he favors delicate, pensive lines, even resorting to a bit of strumming to leave room for Hautzinger's ever-so-quiet playing. Much like on his solo album, he breathes in his quartertone trumpet and makes sounds with the pistons but rarely plays what would commonly be called a note. Recorded at a very high level, the "wind effects" sound almost electronic in nature. Although the liner notes say Bailey plays electric guitar, he also uses the acoustic version. "Krautrock" (of all titles!) stands as a highlight, Hautzinger being particularly playful over Bailey's take on what might be described as a rock ballad (or would that be imagining things?). Bailey has the power to bring the best out of an improviser. That's exactly what happens here.

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