Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Derek and Joe...

Here are two guitar tracks that bring us up to the present day – one from Derek Bailey, in a kind of continuity from the previous Oxley post that he played on, the other from Joe Morris, a more 'jazzy' sounding musician, perhaps, who has echoes of Bailey in his playing but is very much his own man with a unique style. Two fiercely independent musicians who do not compromise... Morris has apparently now taken up acoustic bass – although he's doing some solo guitar recitals the UK round about now (I may go and see him next week in Birmingham – if I do I'll report back...).
The Morris piece I have selected is the opener on his solo acoustic guitar cd 'Singularity' and the Bailey comes from his 'Ballads' album which threw a lot of people, I think – 'Derek playing on tunes!' But there are two distinct approaches to guitar improvisation here. Before this cd, Morris was usually heard playing electric guitar in an effects-free, stripped down style timbre-wise – a similar approach to Bailey in some ways, who has never gone in much for effects. Maybe this is the jazz influence coming through although it is worth noting that Morris is playing nearer to the tradition than Bailey (who nevertheless came out of it as well before launching of to wilder shores...) – many of the older players – Jim Hall, Tal Farlow etc. - kept a pure tone as I suppose they figured that distortion would bend attention away from their improvised lines. The impact of rock and especially Jimi Hendrix changed this – as did jazz-rock and fusion. Yet, possibly the sheer speed and denseness of Morris would not come across so well drenched in electronics – ditto Bailey, who displays a different density – vertical where Morris is more linear. This in in evidence on these recordings – Bailey's 'Body and Soul' is the most 'out' I've ever heard, starting off with melody being chorded almost conventionally - before slowly taking off into his own sound world. Morris similar starts of chordally but then drives off into blinding, single note runs, then mixes the two throughout, but in a more 'conventional' way. I think the difference between the two approaches could be demonstrated if it was possible to transcribe both solos for different intsruments. My guess is that Morris could come out on piano, say, pretty much intact. Bailey - would lose more because of the timbres he uses – especially the ringing harmonics. You would have to use a 'prepared' instrument, maybe, to approximate these. I like them both very much...

Joe Morris interview
and here, updated

Derek Bailey interview -

Joe morris – Lightmp3

Album – Singularity

buy here -

Derek Bailey – Body and Soulmp3

Album – Ballads

buy here -

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