Derek Bailey biography: “Derek Bailey”

According to the Wire this is the guy we’re all supposed to be mad keen on.


I know (now) he’s from Sheffield, so obviously is a cut above the hoi polloi, but I’d never heard of him before. Still don’t get it. As Matt (self-deprecatingly) puts it, The Wire is “just a jazz mag” (a neat double-entendre). It’s actually done a really good job of extending itself to cover other musics but for me its undoing is that it’s just too formalist in its outlook.

Or in other words, I read it, and I can see the reviews are well written, but page after page goes by without me recognising a single name, or indeed wanting to listen to many of the records. Steve Barker’s page (not Steve Barrow’s! cheers John) doesn’t count, of course. The Wire is at its best when it forgoes the artschool musique and does high brow reinterpretations of the underground but it doesn’t do that all that often. I wonder how much of their core audience is composed of jazz / modern classical fans who’d be turned off by too much “pop” stuff.

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