Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Derek Bailey, RIP

One sad announcement to ring in the New Year--the death of British guitarist Derek Bailey. Few people know of Bailey. He was a wondefully inventive guitarist who made noises with the instrument that no one else ever has. He worked with a wide variety of people, particularly the group surrounding the New York saxophonist John Zorn. Someone like Bailey asks the question, what is the point of the guitar, or of music generally? Is it to make fairly bland music that lots of people like, particularly becuase they don't have to listen to it very closely? For example, take another aging British guitarist--Eric Clapton. Here is someone who hasn't made a passably decent album in 35 years, yet a lot of people hold in obscenely high regard. Or is the point of the insturment, and of music generally, to push the envelope and to explore new sonic frontiers? If this is how you think of music, check out the works of Derek Bailey. You'll almost certainly have to order them online, but you might find the effort worth it.