Derek Bailey

Scale Points on the Fever Curve

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Derek Bailey's guitar playing stopped being primarily about notes long ago. Although he does select pitches in his playing, they seem increasingly to be used as vehicles for explorations of timbre and texture rather than vice versa. Because that's the case, and because he uses a hollow-body electric guitar that is connected to a pedal-controlled amplifier (and therefore is only amplified intermittently, according to Bailey's musical whim), it's essential that his instrument be carefully mic'ed, with microphones both near the instrument itself and near the amp, in order for the listener to be able to hear all of the subtle nuances of his playing. Unfortunately, this was not done at the intimate club gig from which this recording is taken. The playing of clarinetist, keyboardist, and drummer Milo Fine is also not quite as consistently audible as one might like, though he pokes his sounds a bit more aggressively through the mix than Bailey does. That said, those who listen closely will be treated to some very fine free improvisation by one of America's, and one of England's, most experienced and accomplished practitioners of the genre. The half-hour long "Opening Gamut" is perhaps the most exhaustive and impressive, while "Extract After" finds Bailey and Fine at their most harmonically interesting. Perhaps not essential, but recommended.

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