This outstanding biography of the cult guitar player will likely cause you to abandon everything you thought you knew about jazz improvisation, post-punk and the avant-garde. Derek Bailey was at the top of his profession as a dance band and record-session guitarist when, in the early 1960s, he began playing an uncompromisingly abstract form of music. Today his anti-idiom of ‘Free Improvisation’ has become the lingua franca of the ‘avant’ scene, with Pat Metheny, John Zorn, David Sylvian and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore among his admirers.
“I am an enthusiast for the Watson method and I’m prepared to follow him, even to places where I wouldn’t under other circumstances go ... I feel profoundly unqualified to promote a text about which I have no specialist knowledge, and for which I have no innate sympathy—being left with unfocused support for the ongoing ever-fecund Watson project. His attack, his singularity. His indecent decency.”—Iain Sinclair
‘The most renowned member of the British free-form jazz movement.’ Independent
‘A towering giant of the guitar. Singular, unique.’ David Sylvian
‘One of the most original and idiosyncratic musicians I have ever known.’ Gavin Bryars
‘The ideal biographer of Derek Bailey.’ John Fordham, Guardian