Derek Bailey

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Llaer Review

by François Couture

In the late '90s/early 2000s, Derek Bailey particularly favored guitar/drums duo settings. There was something about his jagged playing and unique use of overtones that simply called for percussion accompaniment, especially from drummers who used extensive techniques that could enhance the aforementioned overtones. Ingar Zach's cymbal work and assortment of small percussion instruments (wood blocks, small bells) made him perfect for the job. Llaer consists of a one-hour concert recorded in a small club in Oslo on October 20, 2000. Bailey plays an electric guitar with pedal volume throughout. The first set featured three duets of eight to ten minutes. Of these, "Horizontal Rain" stands out, simply because the drummer managed to catch the guitarist off-guard a couple of times. Zach's playing is rich without getting too dense, and shows a high level of integration of both the jazz and rock idioms in his free improvising. Textural (but not gimmicky), he can burst out in a split second, even throwing a steady beat at Bailey here and there, just to see how he would react -- delightful. The second set started with solos, followed by a longer duet (18 minutes). Of the solo performances, Zach's is a keeper -- he is the lesser-known player on the disc and this showcase is a brilliant example of his talent. The duet includes a rare thunderous eruption by Bailey -- he seems to have been aiming at revenge and succeeded since the drummer remained speechless for a short while. If one can imagine that for Bailey this was just another night with a local face, for Zach it must have been a highly formative and unforgettable experience. What remains for the listener is a truly enjoyable record. Recommended.

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