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Christian McBride Remembers Victor Bailey

3.27.60 – 11.11.16

Victor Bailey (far right) with Weather Report
Victor Bailey (far right) with Weather Report

The thing I remember most about Victor is his swagger. He had an unmistakable Philadelphia-born confidence. It was borderline cocky but it never got over there. If you know a lot of guys from Philly, there’s a certain thread in all of our personalities. The Eubanks brothers, Victor Bailey, Joey DeFrancesco, the Brecker brothers, McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman—every musician you can think of from Philly, there’s a certain thing in our personalities that’s undeniable. We will never allow the folk music, the folklore in jazz, to go away. The guy was amazing and he knew it, and he should’ve been proud of it. If you’re not confident in your abilities, then you’re not going to be playing with too many people—especially not in a band like Weather Report.

The first time I heard Victor was on [Weather Report’s] Domino Theory album. I knew what a legend Jaco Pastorius was, and listening to Victor, I thought, what an incredible personality this guy must have to be able to step into a band like Weather Report and replace Jaco and still hold his own. He probably had to battle two personality demons. You have the irreplaceable Jaco Pastorius, but then you also have the irresistible force in Joe Zawinul. He had to be extra strong in that gig.

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Originally Published