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Guitarist Derek Bailey, Free-Form Innovator Dies

Guitarist Derek Bailey, whose radical guitar playing revolutionized improvisational music, died Dec. 25 at his home in London of complications from a motor neuron disease, according to The New York Times. He was 75.

Bailey grew up playing jazz, but ultimately developed his own style of free-form music that combined elements of funk, experimental rock, classical and avant-garde jazz. He was at the forefront of the so-called English free improvisational movement, which influenced the likes of Pat Metheny, George Lewis and Jim O’Rourke. The aesthetic was based on the idea of layering small pockets of sound – often unmelodic and atonal. He used his guitar as a sound-making device, rather than a strict music-making device, circumventing the apparent sonic limitations of the instrument that other musicians faced.

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