Derek Bailey & Min Xiao-Fen - Flying Dragons

"I met Derek at Clinton Studio and we started recording. I remember that my playing felt stiff at first, but I told myself to watch, listen and try to a have dialog with him and most importantly to follow my feelings. I still remember, during the middle of one track, Derek broke a string. I thought he might stop, but he continued playing, using the broken string to scratch on the frets. The results sounded incredible, they came out on Avant, and this followed. Derek and I went on tour playing concerts in Berlin, Graz and other European cities. I learned so much from him."


Derek Bailey / guitar

Min Xiao-Fen / pipa


Recorded by Ben Bailes. Post Production by Toby Hrycek-Robinson and Ben Bailes. Design & layout by Karen Brookman. Recorded N.Y.C. November 1999

Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC


1. Sun Rising - 13:06
2. Non Stop - 15:54
3. Dragons Flying, Phoenixes Dancing - 4:15
4. Meandering Footpath - 8:54

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 

Min Xiao-Fen

Min Xiao-Fen (simplified Chinese: 闵小芬; traditional Chinese: 閔小芬; pinyin: Mǐn Xiǎofēn) is a Chinese pipa player and vocalist, known for her work in traditional Chinese music, contemporary classical music, and jazz. She studied with her father, Min Ji-Qian, a professor and pipa instructor at Nanjing University, and performed as pipa soloist for the Nanjing National Music Orchestra from 1980 to 1992. Min emigrated to the United States in 1992, first settling in San Francisco, California, and since that time has worked with numerous contemporary composers, including Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Carl Stone, Derek Bailey, Anthony De Ritis, Marc Battier, and John Zorn. She has worked with the jazz saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom.