This 1978 recording finds the estimable British guitarist in the musical company of several members of the cutting edge of the Japanese jazz avant-garde of the time. These musicians, including Kaoru Abe (who died later that year), the late bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa, and the trumpeter Toshinori Kondo match Bailey's unique brand of spiky intelligence with grace and confidence. The duo between Bailey and Kondo, wielding two trumpets simultaneously, is a small gem of concise free improv, while the trio with Abe and saxophonist Mototeru Takagi screams along with abandon. The session includes a couple of duos between Kondo and Takagi. One is a brief piece with each on multiple horns, sounding very much as though intended in tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who had died a few months prior to this recording. The other is a very attractive, considered performance beginning with watery lines that escalate into cascading torrents of sound. When the trio that opened the disc (Bailey, Yoshizawa, and drummer Toshi Tsuchitori) returns for a finale, the listener has the sense of having witnessed an intriguing roundtable of ideas, a meeting of cultures that turned out to not be very different. Duo + Trio Improvisations isn't an earthshaking entry in Bailey's lengthy discography, but a fine and absorbing listen, worthy of notice.
AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick