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Derek Bailey

(1930—2005) guitarist and musical theorist


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b. 29 January 1930, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, d. 25 December 2005, London, England. Bailey was one of the few jazz guitarists who could accurately be described as unique and entirely original, in that there were no real precedents for his style. His father and grandfather were professional musicians and Bailey studied music and guitar formally from 1941-52. From 1952-65, he undertook all types of commercial work, including as a session man in recording studios and as a member of pit orchestras; one celebrated engagement involved accompanying Gracie Fields. In 1963, he encountered Tony Oxley and Gavin Bryars, and the interplay of ideas within this trio (named Joseph Holbrooke) set off a severe evaluation of his direction that resulted in a fearsomely austere and abstract music and a long-standing commitment to total improvisation.

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From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.


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