by carl wilson

16 Shells from a Twenty-Ought-Six
Plus: Derek Bailey

derekbailey.jpg
RIP Derek Bailey.

I'm misquoting the Tom Waits song in the headline (it's actually a 30-ought six, but since I won't be here in 3006, what the hell), but consider that a 21-gun salute to the arrival of the new year, giving 2005 a swift sour kick in the ass on its way out the door. Of course such a sentiment will never be universal, but I'm amazed the number of people I talked to this week who shared the experience of 2005 as a monument to suck. Let's just not speak of it again.

I'm still doing housekeeping - the January gig guide is up and I hope to do some renovations on the links page this week - but wanted to pop in and say happy new year, and also note the most significant musical event over the holidays, the sad passing of British improv guitarist and thinker Derek Bailey on Christmas Day in London, of a motor neuron disease, at age 75. I think there is some tendency in the memorials to overplay Bailey's innovations (which mostly had easily mapped genealogies) - what mattered most about him I think was the degree of commitment and intensity he brought to his project at every possible turn and, for someone sometimes pigeonholed as a dogmatist in his approach, his neverending eagerness to explore every possible context, from Pat Metheny's jazz-fusion to butoh dance to pirate-radio drum'n'bass DJs to tap dancing to Japanese noise .... For someone whose own stylings were so stark and nettled, he turns out to be a surprising model of recombinant cosmopolitanism. A few of the worthwhile tributes I've read in the past week include the Guardian obituary, Gavin Bryars' reminiscence, Steve Smith's true-fan testimony, a brief but thoughtful post by Nate Dorward (who makes a very telling comparison of Bailey and Samuel Beckett), an appreciation in LA Weekly, the Jazzcorner discussion, and a tribute on Bagatellen, including this very apt line (especially given Bailey's final album, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which documents his efforts to find ways to keep playing despite his deteriorating condition) in the comments box: "There is material for music everywhere in everything. It was once possible to keep different. It is still possible to die trying."

Here are two audio tributes from the mighty WFMU, here (three hours' worth!) and in briefer form at the end of this show. The WFMU blog (correctly identified as one of the gems of the Internet in Dave Morris's year-end column in Eye, which also kindly mentioned Zoilus) also pays tribute and offers a video clip of Bailey playing outdoors in Japan for some young students in concert with butoh dancer Min Tanaka and with the sounds of the landscape around them.

| Posted by zoilus on Monday, January 02 at 01:56 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

COMMENTS

Here's to better news in '06.

Posted by john on January 4, 2006 06:38 PM

 

 

Christmas was good and everything but I missed Zoilus so much. I know you said you wouldn't post over the holidays but I was still here every day. Just don't tell my girlfriend.

Posted by Craig on January 2, 2006 11:42 PM

 

 

thanks for all the urls Carl...much appreciated

Posted by Rob on January 2, 2006 09:06 PM

 

 

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson