Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Derek Bailey/Steve Lacy: Outcome

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Steve Lacy and Derek Bailey have radically different approaches to improvisation. Bailey deals primarily with pure sound, and it often seems that the only reason for notes as such to occur in his music is because of the basic nature of the guitar, which gives you six tones as a starting place. By using harmonics and open strings as frequently as he does, Bailey tacitly agrees to accept the neutral feeling of the standard guitar tuning as a harmonic reference, albeit one that he just about never acknowledges except by a series of well-conceived devices that turn that reference on its head (using major sevenths or minor seconds with the harmonics, for instance). But there is no conventional progression to the music anyway; things move by textural and rhythmic rather than melodic or harmonic steps.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.