Derek Bailey & Tony Oxley - Soho Suites

"Oxley and Bailey first played together in 1963. Although they come from the same city and share the same kind of background their meeting was, in a way, coincidental. Bailey - 10 years older than Oxley - after some years working away from their hometown, returned for what was initially intended to be a brief family visit. The musical situation he found there persuaded him to stay. Oxley and Bailey then worked together, continuously and intensively, for the next three years and developed, with Gavin Bryars who was then a bass player, their own particular approach to free improvisation.

Since 1966, their working relationship, although intermittent, has continued in a multitude of different playing situations. Initially, during the late 60's and early 70's, much of it was in the context of Tony Oxley's small groups - quartet, quintet and sextet. From the late 70's on, it would sometimes be within Derek Bailey's improvisor's ensemble, Company.

Throughout, and increasingly in the 1990's, they have played in duo. These recordings, a London studio recording made in 1977, and a concert recorded in New York 1995, are testament to the remarkable richness and sustained variety of their musical relationship." - Simon Kelly

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Derek Bailey / electric & acoustic guitars

Tony Oxley / acoustic & electric percussion, violin

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Tracks 1-4: Recorded in Soho, London in February 1977 by Kevin Spencer. Tracks 5-10: Recorded at the Knitting Factory, NYC in September 1995 by James Mclean. PPhotographs of Derek Bailey &  Tony Oxley in concert (France, May, 1997) by Franz-Heinrich Busch. Post Production & design by Karen Brookman.

Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC

Tracklisting:

1. Carlisle - 22:04
2. Wardour - 2:49
3. Berwick - 3:15
4. Beak - 17:01

5. Rivington - 17:40
6. Kenmare - 13:00
7. Lafayette - 3:40
8. Grand - 3:30
9. Lispenard - 15:40
10. Leonard - 3:10 

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 

Tony Oxley

Tony Oxley, with Derek Bailey and Gavin Bryars, created one of the foundations of free improvisation in the UK through their explorations in the group Joseph Holbrooke. A detailed retrospective view of Joseph Holbrooke can be found in Bailey (1992, pp. 86-93) but, briefly, the group existed in Sheffield from 1963 to 1966, initially playing conventional jazz though by 1965 playing totally improvised pieces. The fact that the three were 'isolated' in Sheffield from developments elsewhere (John Stevens and the SME) provided an ideal environment for experimentation and development. After that the participants moved to London, Oxley becoming the house drummer at Ronnie Scott's while all the while continuing with experimental music. He was in at the beginning of the Incus label with Bailey and Evan Parker and some of his work for that label is recognised as landmarks in the development of free music. He also appeared in various (early) versions of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra