Takes, Fakes and Dead She Dances – Derek Bailey

Released in 1998, this was Bailey's first solo record after the magical number of 7 years - realised after a long period of playing with just about anybody that made sense to him. The artwork for the original CD is just textures in greyscale, the font Times New Roman and on the inside sleeve of there are no notes, just the word 'listen' in lower case. Ken Hollings wrote in The Wire upon its release, "this is the end of a dialogue." 

'Takes, Fakes' starts with an abrasive 13 min live recording from a '97 concert and builds through eight gaunt and nuanced acoustic studio cuts, each snipped and selected by Steve Beresford. Once we get to 'Dead She Dances', arguably the keystone track on the record, each miniature starts to make sense as Bailey reads a deathly description of a female from his pal Peter Riley's poetry book 'Distant Point'. By the time he picks up his electric Gibson it feels like the perfect solo release - super raw and with purpose. A gem from '98 for sure. In fact, Brian Olewnick called it the best record of 1998. Oosh.  


Derek Bailey / guitar


1 & 10 from a solo concert recorded by Paul Tyson, September 1997.

2-9 studio recordings by Dave Hunt, produced by Steve Beresford, May 1997. 

Post Production by Tony Robinson, and desgin and layout by Karen Brookman. 

Acoustic guitar built by German cello maker Henner Hardenberger. 

Electric on 10 is a Gibson 175. 

Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC 



1. Notts - 13:11

2. tba - 2:10

3. One Damned Thing..... - 3:12

4. Opening Title - 1:57

5. ......After Another - 2:32

6. It Goes In, Out, Round, About - 3:13

7. This title and the following title - 2:09

8. Should be reversed - 3:55

9. Rabbit as Seen by Dog - 1:37

10. dead She Dances - 7:32


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