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This recording is more than just a document of a musical performance, it is a time capsule which magically allows the listener to travel back in time and space. But this is not simply a question of a date on a calendar or a point on a map; Klinker gives us a second chance (or for some, a first chance) to luxuriate in an atmosphere, a performance environment and a specific combination of musicians which we will never be able to experience again.
The most obvious and immediate thing that this recording brings back is the living, human presence of Derek and Will. In publishing the entire performance from start to finish, this Confront release allows us to experience these much-missed artists at work with a degree of intimacy and familiarity absent from (for example) prestigious festival performances. Of course, any new addition to the Bailey discography is an exciting development, but I feel I must also mention just how well Will Gaines plays (and yes, I use that term deliberately) on this gig. For those who might be unsure why Derek was always so happy to play with Will, listen to how Will uses his strongly idiosyncratic technique with invention, flexibility and imperturbability in the Company context. Similarly, hearing Bailey and Gaines exchange one-liners reminds me just how strongly Derek’s early career in light entertainment imprinted his ideas about musical practice and performance ethics; with his combination of show business schmaltz and improvisational acuity Will was a marvellous foil for Derek. Listen to Will, having dangerously skirted raconteur territory in his solo introduction to WG / MW, suddenly getting serious and creative when Mark decides to join him. But most of all, listen to the constantly re-inventing interaction between these four relaxed performers, one distant Thursday night in De Beauvoir Town.
For this recording is also a tribute to the London Improvised Music Club scene of the late 20th century. During the 1990s I played extremely regularly in clubs such as The Klinker, sometimes as often as three or four times a week; the idea of playing frequently in low-pressure situations, with an ever-changing roster of colleagues, was the very essence of improvised music for many musicians of my generation. For all kinds of reasons, Improvised Music in London no longer has the luxury of a seemingly never-ending supply of informal musician-run clubs. So, enjoy this marvellous opportunity to join us in the hot, sweaty, noisy, beery atmosphere of The Klinker Club in August 2000. But perhaps you were actually there at the time…..
Simon H. Fell [January 2018]
released March 14, 2018
Derek Bailey: guitar
Mark Wastell: violoncello
Simon H. Fell: double bass
Will Gaines: tap dance
full track listing:
01. intro; DB / SF / MW 1 [12:14]
02. DB / SF / MW 2 [05:12]
03. an announcement; DB / WG 1 [07:25]
04. DB / WG 2 [04:15]
05. you should see me when I'm making money; DB / WG 3 [05:36]
06. SF / MW [09:59]
07. DB / SF / WG / MW 1 [08:47]
08. WG / MW [13:05]
09. DB / SF 1 [10:50]
10. DB / SF 207:54]
11. DB / SF / WG / MW 2; outro [14:08]
« Première bonne nouvelle : Derek Bailey , alors arrivé au crépuscule de sa carrière (il nous a quitté en 2005), ne fait pas que se rejouer ! Il y a des passages où j'entends des choses surprenantes que je n'ai jamais entendues ailleurs et j'ai écouté de fond en comble ses albums vinyles depuis les seventies de manière continue et de nombreux CDs. L’ambiance et la prise de son (pas trop technique, mais très présente), les «annoucements » (de DB et de WG), la chaleur du public, leurs rires, la musique endiablée et d’une grande fraîcheur, les claquettes(Will Gaines a alors 72 ans !) tout concorde à rendre cet album absolument irrésistible. Je préfère les albums anciens de Derek, à ceux de la fin de sa carrière où la guitare était trop saturée à mon goût et certains collaborateurs trop « téléphonés » (intérêt musical relatif !), mais celui-ci se situe clairement dans le top sur plusieurs morceaux. 1er CD après deux trios DB/SF/MW (guitare – contrebasse – violoncelle) engageants, rageurs et même décoiffant, trois courts duos Gaines – Bailey claquettes et guitare : Derek a une dimension rythmique remarquable. Les frappes, frottements, cliquetis des semelles de Will Gaines simulent un jeu de batterie polyrythmique multiswing sur le quel le guitariste surfe d’aise. Le troisième intitulé : you should see me when I’m making money, se termine tout-à-coup sur un saut final sonore du danseur. Vraiment joyeux. Will Gaines ne se prive pas de déconner à la grande joie du public avec un jive et un aplomb digne d’un jazzman à l’ancienne de haut lignage et Derek Bailey nous donne à entendre de belles trouvailles qui font de lui un improvisateur exceptionnel. Le break ! ? Ensuite : Duo SF/MW faisant vibrer, frapper, pleurer, murmurer, chuinter les cordes dans toutes les dimensions. Différents du trio IST. Le quartet délirant pour finir le cd avant le deuxième break. Il fait soif visiblement, on est en plein mois d’août. 2ème CD : WG/MW : le public parle mais les claquettes virevoltent et au bout d’un moment Wastell trace un tempo… Deux duos DB/SF consécutifs car le guitariste aimait beaucoup jouer avec le contrebassiste. Même après avoir écouté Derek Bailey assidûment durant plusieurs décennies, on trouve encore matière à rêver, à se surprendre. 2ème Quartet final, enthousiasmant : Will Gaines délivre allègrement son boniment de jazz performer alors que les trois autres grattent, frottent, s’évertuent à faire sauter toute référence tonale. Les quatre s’oublient, exultent. Inoubliable, sûrement pour les spectateurs. C’est sans nul doute le plus beau souvenir que me laissera Derek Bailey à la fin de sa carrière et le plus joyeux Company qu'il est donné d'écouter. L'atmosphère de concert est absolument fantastique, la prise de son de Tim Fletcher rendant grâce à la vie émotionnelle partagée avec le public et le lieu. Oolyakoo ! »
Jean-Michel van Schouwburg ORYNX
“Although performing that night under the familiar tag of ‘Derek Bailey & Company’, [Bailey’s] performance at The Klinker dealt up a degree of stylistic incongruity. Simon H. Fell and Mark Wastell were associated at the time with reductionist improvisation, while tap-dancer Will Gaines (then 72) had a history that stretched back to working with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Cab Calloway in 1950s New York City. But the magic of Derek Bailey was that all these performers felt able to play out their own obsessions – while bending their instincts towards this new, for-one-night-only situation. Bailey responds to the rhythmic math of Gaines’ dancing by drawing on his own roots in Eddie Lang and Charlie Christian, riffs scattering as they are formed. Fell and Wastell interlock like a lopsided mechanism in their duo; and the quartet pieces are a marvel, with each musician defining clear rhythmic and gestural terrain to call their own – which allows them scope aplenty for frank exchanges of view, sudden rebuttals and probing questions.”
Philip Clark JAZZWISE
“Gaines is a veritable human dynamo as evidenced on "WG/MW", and Mark Wastell's cello is almost eclipsed by the sheer boundless energy generated by Gaines who gives an amusing vocal narrative, regaling the audience with previous incidents in his long life (meeting Maurice Chevalier, for example) whilst tap-dancing. After four minutes he is joined by Wastell on cello at which point Gaines concentrates on the dancing. We hear some breathtaking sostenuto and trademark harmonics from Bailey who is accompanied [sic] here by Simon H. Fell on "DB/SF1" and the ensuing track "DB/SF2", with Fell alternating between pizzicato and deep arco bass. Any opportunity to hear Bailey is important; he was totally inimitable and a true improvisational innovator, so this double-CD release is very welcome indeed.”
Roger Farbey ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“Derek Bailey’s collaboration with tap dancer Will Gaines was among his most inspired. A legendary Harlem hoofer famed for his ability to find the rhythm in any kind of music, Gaines shared stages with Charlie Parker and Cab Calloway, before settling in Britain in the 1960s, where John Stevens lured him to the dark side. Perhaps Gaines’ rapport with Bailey had something to do with their shared background in post-war entertainment, but whatever the rationale, the combination of soft-shoe shuffle and non-idiomatic improv was something special. Recorded at London’s Klinker Club in August 2000, this double album sees Bailey and Gaines joined by bassist Simon H. Fell and cellist Mark Wastell, as they work through various configurations. Maintaining a balanced ensemble sound in a small room lined with disco mirrors is no easy task, but the musicians perform with remarkable sensitivity and elegance. Despite playing mostly with bows, Wastell and Fell are careful not to overwhelm Bailey’s spidery runs and swelling harmonics. The acoustics of the room amplify the smallest gesture, allowing them to explore a range of extended techniques and texture. There’s a particularly affecting passage in the opening trio set where Fell lays down a droning bass figure, complemented by wavering tones and miniature glissandi from Wastell. Bailey feeds in amplified harmonics and a trembling tapped chord that’s strikingly Hendrixian. Gaines takes to the stage, rappin’ and tappin’ while Bailey casually picks away. Like Bailey, Gaines is a great raconteur, and his tales of the jazz life are a joy. During the second set, Gaines duets with Wastell, responding to the cellist’s fluid movements and jagged double stops with impossibly deft steps. The quartet performances are something else, with the musicians adding momentum to Gaines’ anecdotes and interacting beautifully with his polyrhythmic footwork. There are some lovely moments where Gaines decelerates, his legs bowing and feet shuffling like a wind-up toy that’s reached the end of its cycle, only to spring back to life with some show stopping razzle dazzle. This magical recording gives me life.”
Stewart Smith THE WIRE
“La formazione, grazie anche alla complicità dell’atmosfera molto rilassata che aleggia nel locale, della situazione raccolta ed il pubblico attento, si diletta in improvvisazioni delicate e spigliate, dove lo scambio tra i musicisti è immediato, il feeling si percepisce all’orecchio, ed il dialogo musicale performativo tra Bailey e Gaines risulta fluido, senza strappi né false partenze. I momenti di conversazione e aneddoti si alternano ai brani rendendo la performance una piacevole rimpatriata tra amici, riuscendo nell’intento di mostrare la capacità di improvvisare liberamente mantenendosi piacevolmente rilassati. Un gradito ritorno dal passato e uno sguardo sulla scena improvvisativa inglese dei primi anni 2000, che potrà piacere ed incuriosire sia gli appassionati sia chi voglia ascoltare qualcosa di nuovo.”
Marco Paolucci KATHODIK
“The music is – depending on the moment – sparse, mysterious or utterly realistic. Most of all, and rather unsurprisingly, it is funny. Hopefully, the reader knows how Bailey’s guitar expresses the inherent organization of an apparent anarchy; the way his swelling chords and shimmering upper partials combine with Fell and Wastell’s sagacious arcos and nimble fingers is, overall, what I actually relish herein.”
Massimo Ricci TOUCHING EXTREMES
Bruce's Fingers is a record label founded in 1983 by bassist, composer & improviser Simon H. Fell.
publications (which also include books and scores) are centred around free / contemporary jazz, improvised music & contemporary / experimental composition.
Initially focussed on Fell's own work, the BF project has since expanded to include many other things besides......more
I don't think I've ever experienced a more profound feeling of being guided by an unseen force than the day we recorded this 70-minute piece of complex and challenging music in one exhilarating take. Bruce's Fingers