Derek Bailey Tribute at The Stone

The ICTUS label has been dedicated to Improvised Music, New Jazz and Contemporary Classic Music since 1976. Founders Andrea Centazzo and Carla Lugli had to close it down in 1984, but the label was rose from the ashes in 2005 featuring new productions and re-releases of the old recordings. The Stone in NYC, in conjunction with Andrea Centazzo, presented a series of concerts in April celebrating ICTUS’s 35th anniversary. April 6th was dedicated to a tribute to Derek Bailey, featuring six of the worlds best known free-improvising guitarists.

Andrea Centazzo introduces the guitarists.

First each player improvised to a recording of a heretofore unreleased improv by Bailey, then they performed together in an evolving duet format, with each replacing another either singly or both at once.

Anders Nilsson brought an eleven-string nylon instrument that was occasionally hard-pressed to compete with the others’ acoustic steel and electric guitars. Nilsson demonstrated taste and technique, though he occasionally seemed a bit deferential to his more experienced cohorts.

Chris Cochrane was unique in eschewing any reference to Bailey’s language of skittering atonal chords and harmonics in favor of volume swelled single notes punctuated by bursts of distortion.

Despite the sour look on his face, Henry Kaiser is not flipping the bird to the audience but rather using his wet finger to pull evocative squeaks out of his Monteleone archtop.

Davey Williams added a note of Bailey-esque humor when he yelled to the audience in the midst of his duo with the master’s recording, “I don’t know if it is over or just a pause.”

Ebows were in evidence, used by both Elliot Sharp and Marco Capelli, though in quite different manners. Sharp combined it with slide, while Capelli used his tuning wrench on an eBowed sympathetic string.


The evening’s music displayed plenty of examples of the guitar vocabulary developed by Derek Bailey. It was a fitting tribute to a legendary pioneer of avant-garde guitar by a sextet of players who are honoring his memory by keeping the flame of experimentation burning brightly.

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  1. Pingback: Marco Cappelli’s Residency at The Stone | guitar moderne

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