Derek Bailey / Franz Hautzinger

Derek Bailey & Franz Hautzinger

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By 2001, guitarist Derek Bailey had recorded so many duo albums with such a bewildering variety of musicians that even the most dedicated fan had become hard-pressed to keep track of the roster, much less the relative value of the recordings. This disc with Austrian trumpeter Franz Hautzinger stands out a bit, as it was one of Bailey's first collaborations with a younger musician in the European post-AMM community, whose work owes far less to the jazz tradition than many of Bailey's previous partners. Hautzinger, playing a specially made quarter-tone trumpet, patrols roughly the territory being concurrently investigated by players like Axel Dörner, Greg Kelley, and Rajesh Mehta, rarely if ever invoking anything near a traditional sound from his instrument. Instead, he deals largely in breath tones and sonorous valve manipulations, providing a very abstract foil for, oddly in this case, Bailey's more "normal" sounding guitar work. It's at least intriguing that by the turn of the century Bailey, for so long so far in the vanguard, had become something of a grandfatherly figure to a younger generation, almost quaint though generally still quite restlessly invigorating. He is, of course, instantly recognizable here (on electric guitar throughout), and if he's mellowed a bit over the years, he still provides more than enough grist for most associates to deal with and wend their way through. On several of the improvisations, he indulges in some ringing, held tones that are luxuriantly attractive and, as in almost any Bailey session, you're likely to hear a few things done on guitar that you only vaguely thought possible. Still, a sense of sameness creeps in as the disc progresses and the listener's attention is held less by the conversation than by the strong impression made by Hautzinger. If Bailey's the eccentric uncle telling his captivating stories for the umpteenth time (and the humorously bland titles lead one toward that supposition), Hautzinger's the young whippersnapper with a different slant on the family history. Along with the three trumpeters mentioned above, he's busily reinventing the instrument and the process is something that any new music fan should be checking out. Worth hearing, but less for the sum of its parts than for one of the fascinating, new ingredients.

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