Derek Bailey and Anthony Braxton - Royal

The second release in a series of collaborations between Honest Jon's Records and Incus: three double-LPs of the legendary free-improvising guitarist Derek Bailey, solo (HJR 200LP) and in duos with Anthony Braxton and Han Bennink(HJR 202LP), augmenting the original releases with marvelous, previously unissued music. Recorded in 1974, at the Royal Hotel in Luton, with Braxton playing soprano and alto saxophones, and Bb and contrabass clarinets. Two volumes were planned; only one was issued, till now. This was an early transatlantic meeting between the leading free improvisers. Many of Braxton's signature techniques and ideas were gestated in such sessions. It still brims with inquisitive musical creativity and knockabout jazzbo allusiveness. Newly transferred from tape at Abbey Road, and remastered by Rashad Becker. Available exclusively for download here. 

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Derek Bailey / electric guitar

Anthony Braxton / saxophones, clarinets

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Recorded during a concert played at the Royal Hotel, Luton, England on July 2, 1974.

Sides 1 and 2 were issued as Royal Volume 1 in 1984; 3 and 4 are released here for the first time by Honest Jons. Thanks to Karen Brookman-Bailey and Tim Fletcher. 

Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC 

Tracklisting:

1. Opening (Opening) - 26:41
2. Opening (Closing) - 16:13
3. Middle - 5:27
4. Closing (Opening) 15:27
5. Closing (Closing) 21:03

Derek Bailey

Derek Bailey was one of the most influential and adventurous experimental guitarists to come from England (Sheffield), evolving out of the trad-jazz scene of the fifties into the avant/jazz scene in '60s London. By the late sixties he was a member of the Joseph Holbrooke Trio, Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Music Improvisation Company which later became the amorphous Company under his leadership. These groups were at the birth and center of the British free-jazz scene. In the early seventies, Derek Bailey and Evan Parker started their own record label called Incus Records - one of the first artist-run labels. 

Although Derek played with members of the British free/jazz scene, he also forged relationships with a number of European players like Han Bennink & Peter Brötzmann, Japanese free players like Abe Kaoru, Toshinori Kondo, as well as American improvisers like Anthony Braxton, George Lewis and John Zorn to name a few. 

Derek organized an annual festival called Company Week in the 80's & 90's, which brought together a unique group of international improvisers from varied backgrounds.

"He was a man who repelled pretension, refused to be shoehorned into comfortable categories, and played amazing guitar." - John Butcher

"I do not subscribe to the idea that free improvisation began or ends with any individual. This only suggests that somehow the music Derek made was so individualistic that it failed to communicate anything beyond personal expression." - Eddie Prevost 

Anthony Braxton

The development of Braxton's unique musical language began as an exploration of rhythms and textures, which he combined with techniques gained from experimental composition, from graphic notation to serialism all the way to multimedia presentation. In the interim, he can look back on and celebrate over four decades of kaleidoscopic output: recordings, compositions, theoretical works and university teaching appointments.

Braxton has remained a controversial figure among musicians and critics, since he moves with complete autonomy between diverse musical worlds and has absorbed the influences of John Coltrane, Paul Desmond and Eric Dolphy with equal enthusiasm as those of John Cage or Karlheinz Stockhausen. The latter preoccupations have led to plenty of criticism from traditionalists. There is however zero cause for doubt regarding the originality and rich world of ideas that Braxton’s output represents. He has managed in his resourceful way to reconcile the intuitive aspects of free jazz with the formal and harmonic methods of contemporary classical music. Braxton has composed works for orchestra and operas – he has experimented with unusual line-ups, writing for and performing with 100 tubas or four orchestras where it suits his fancy. He has created myriad complex works that he uses as jumping off points for improvisations, deconstructions and remixes.