Review of DEREK BAILEY & SIMON H. FELL - THE COMPLETE 15th AUGUST 2001 at DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY by BRUCE GALLANTER

June 19, 2014

This features Derek Bailey on acoustic guitar and Simon H. Fell on double bass and was recorded at Sound 323 in August of 2001. This set was recorded just two years before the passing of Mr. Bailey in December of 2005. I feel fortunate to have witnessed Derek Bailey playing with the three members of IST (Simon H. Fell, Rhodri Davies & Mark Wastell) at Tonic during the last Company festival that Mr. Bailey and John Zorn set up around the same time as this. Sound 323 is the name of the record store which was run by Mr. Wastell and located in north London. Both Derek Bailey and Simon H. Fell are master musicians who improvise together at an intense and challenging level. This set bristles with focused energy. Both instruments sound closely mic'd so that we can hear each scrape, pluck and bow. Each of the four pieces here are relatively long, two are titled "Pre-Tea" and two titled "Post-Tea". At times, it seems as if Mr. Bailey is on the verge of exploding and then things calm do a bit only to flare up again. Mr. Fell sounds as if he is using a peg or wooden object on his bass at times and coaxing brittle percussive sounds. I found this set to be quite exciting, that edge-of-your-seat dynamic! Over seventu minutes long and pretty incredible throughout! 

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