Imagine walking into a big music store. Two guys are playing: a solid funk bass propelled by a wiggly, syncopated drummer.
Then, on the other side of the room, some kid on an elementary school field trip picks up an electric guitar that somebody left plugged in. The kid doesn’t know how to play, not even a little bit. So he grabs a string and gives it a yank. Sproinggg!! ..then another, maybe a little louder this time. He moves his left hand, makes a sorta-chord and rakes his right across the strings. Klangg!
The thing is, you haven’t seen the kid. So you’re trying to figure out if this plonky guitar actually goes with the rhythm section. It just might.
Welcome to the strange and beautiful world of Derek Bailey, king of the freely-improvised guitar.
Bailey has made a lot of recordings in various contexts: solo, duos , small ensembles and large groups. All are worth checking out. On Mirakle he teams up with Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass and Calvin Weston on drums. Definitely a formidable pair. Mirakle is a good introduction to this style of play as the funk rhythm section give the uninitiated listener something familiar to hold onto while the more “alien” guitar does its thing.
Now, I’d be the first person to admit that this recording is not for everyone. Derek Bailey’s guitar style will require some time to “get”. In fact, you may never “get” it. If you do though, a whole new musical landscape will open up for further exploration.
(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)