Label: Foghorn Records – FOGCD006
Format: CD, Album; Released: 01 Apr 2006
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at the 291 Gallery, Hackney Road, London E2, on Tuesday August 17th 2004.
Post-production and Mastering: Asa Bennett at sonic studios.
Engineer by – Ashley Wales
Design by Paul Dunn @ diablo based on original artwork by Ashley Wales
Gig of the year – Derek Bailey’s return in triumph from Barcelona to East London. – Phillip Clark, Jazz Review
01. Search . . . 20:50
02. Locate . . . 16:01
03. Destroy . . . 34:02
Tony Bevan – bass saxophone
Ashley Wales – soundscapes, electronics
Orphy Robinson – electronics, marimba, percussion, steel drums, trumpet
John Edwards – double bass
Mark Sanders – drums, percussion
Derek Bailey – electric guitar
Tony Bevan is an improvising virtuoso on Soprano and Tenor saxophones, but perhaps is best known for his work on the Bass saxophone, on which he is probably Britain’s only major modern performer (“the world’s greatest improvising Bass saxophonist” - Timeout). He is closely linked with the late Derek Bailey, with whom he appeared and recorded many times, as well as with Free Jazz legend Sunny Murray, who, along with Edwards, he has been playing with for more than a decade, releasing a number of award winning recordings and appearing in Antoine Prum’s award winning film “Sunny’s Time Now”. He recently curated with Prum a 3 day festival on British Improvised Music in Berlin, which is released on film in late 2012, following more filming in the UK in early 2012 . His playing covers all bases from rock group Spiritualised (on whose new album he is a featured soloist) to Classical Avant-Garde composer Luc Ferrari, with the likes of Barre Phillips, Matthew Bourne, Joe Morris, Marc Ribot and Tony Buck of The Necks in between.
He runs the Foghorn label.
Derek Bailey (29 January 1930 – 25 December 2005)
Sonically this is maybe not the best document (a straight-to-DAT recording from a gig at London’s 291 Gallery, acoustically somewhat muddled though quite acceptable) but it’s essential listening for Derek Bailey fans. As usual, the guitarist sought out the company of younger players – in this case, the acoustic/electronic (not electroacoustic) quintet responsible for Bruised, one of last year’s best and most overlooked improv records. The new disc is, among other things, the final chapter in the longstanding relationship between Bailey and bass saxophonist Tony Bevan. It’s hard not to hear real poignancy in Bevan’s playing here, which is stripped down so far it’s as if he’s trying to make an entire musical language out of achingly isolated notes. There’s also the tickle of hearing Bailey with the blue-chip UK free-improv rhythm section of John Edwards and Mark Sanders. The off-balance recording makes it harder to parse the electronic input from Orphy Robinson and (especially) Ashley Wales, but they’re certainly responsible for the haunting, elusive soundscaping (I was also surprised at the closeness in timbre between Robinson’s steel drums and Bailey’s distorted guitar). Derek Bailey was the kind of player an Oulipian would love, someone for whom obstacles were occasions for necessary creativity. By the time this disc was recorded in August 2004 he was already suffering from what was initially diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome but later turned out to be degenerative motor neurone disease. In response, he simply went calmly about refashioning his entire approach to the instrument. I’ve always loved the spacious, floaty interludes that occur on his discs, when isolated sound-events: a slow-swelling discord, a quiet scrape over the length of a string are dropped into silence like pebbles cast in a well. His playing throughout this album is like an album-length exploration of that particular corner of his music. His tone on the instrument is much softer than before by this point he was playing without a pick and his improvisations are constructed out of quiet, separately twisted fragments. There’s nothing overtly valedictory about the music the three tracks are called ‘Search’, ‘Locate’ and ‘Destroy’, after all but it is nonetheless hard not to be moved by a few moments here. Bevan’s soft-spoken duet with Bailey near the end of the album, in particular, serves as an achingly beautiful farewell to his mentor, so much so that it’s almost a relief when the full band regroups for a final pummelling blowout.
– ND “ParisTransAtlantic”
Buy this album!