18 February 2008

Bill Laswell, Derek Bailey, Jack DeJohnette, DJ Disk - Live Frankfurt 1998

I'm one of the few around here who does not appreciate Derek Bailey's fine qualities, so I'm not the ideal person to present this. Perhaps some afficionado can add some more qualified opinion after listening. I was intrigued by his cohorts on this recording when I came across it. Jack DeJohnette is one of my all-time favourite drummers, but I've never heard him playing the sort of music you'd normally expect Bailey to play. Bill Laswell I only know from his projects with John Zorn, but if you look at his career, he's played in countless rock and fusion bands. I won't comment on Mr Disk !

I must admit I haven't heard this in it's entireity, but from bits that I've listened to, Bailey almosts seems to play in time with the rhythm section a la John McLaughlin, but then there are other parts where he seems to ignore them.

I'm posting this in flac. Could somebody please do the honours and upload an mp3 version.

Concert details:
Transmutation 1998-6-7

Bill Laswell - bass
Derek Bailey - guitar
Jack DeJohnette - drums
DJ Disk - turntable

June 7, 1998
Frankfurt, Germany

Lineage is unknown, but possible a soundboard recording. Thanks to malleable for seeding.


Boromir said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tantris said...

Boromir - thanks for this - I enjoy anything with Derek Bailey so I shall look forward to listening to it. Here is Bailey's Aida, one of his outstanding solo recordings, on Dexter's Cigar:


jazzme said...

I won't get to hear this til a mp3 is posted but background for Laswell , he played in Last Exit in the 80's with Shannon Jackson , Sonny Sharrock & Brotzmann they did 6 albums but only 2 are available to my knowledge they are all worth hearing they are great Steve

kinabalu said...

Yeah, Last Exit was definitely worth seeing. I saw them at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague in 1987. A part of that gig ended up as the first side of their "Cassette Recordings" lp on Enemy (which I've got, by the way, and the two that came before).

jazzme said...

I am only missing one last exit cd and because of finding eat my art out I now can listen to Derek Bailey discs I would'nt otherwise hear due to OOP and expensive

sotise said...

boromir.. many thanks for posting this, you are the only person on this board posting things you dont like ..but feel other people may want , and i for one (as well as many others not on dime) am particularly grateful, i love derek and would love to see more live material by him here.
thanks for your magnanimity!!

jazzme said...

Could someone please post a mp3 link for this I would be grateful thank you Steve

sotise said...

jazzme, i would post this in mp3 for you and the vandermark but i exeeded my dl limit and have no bandwidth, so if you can wait a week.. ill do it.

you or someone else was saying they need winamp to handle flac.

i dont see why, most cd burning programs burn flac files (the decompression takes place during the process.. i dont understand why people want to convert down from flac to mp3... sure... ipods etc
ipods make music sound like its coming out of tin cans to me.. how anyone can stand that beats me.

what it comes down to is ,downloaders being to lazy to do their homework..get a conversion program.. learn to deal with other formats.

which makes more work for uploaders having to post to multiple formats.

there is a freeware program called burrrn ( for pc users) which will burn most formats , its free and it doesnt embed itself into the registry and cause debilitating problems.

if you are on a mac , mac flac is supposedly the codec you need and the plugin many people use to deal with flac.

Boromir said...

Fifteen people have already downloaded the flac version. Come on one of you. Please upload an mp3 version. Don't leave it all to the contributors.

1009 said...

yeah, winamp is wicked easy for conversion. i'm an unfortunate ipod addict (i do most of my listening outside of the house, on trains, buses, etc.), so i have to convert everything down to mp3. normally i would jump all over this one, but i refuse to download anything that has come anywhere near bill laswell. sorry folks. the dude's poison.

justin said...

In response to 1009, I'm curious what you don't like about Bill Laswell. I'm certainly not jumping on you with this one because I'm not quite sure there's anything of his I'm nuts about either.

1009 said...

i'm pretty sure he uses one of those bass amps w/ a "funk" button. one gets the sense he's really proud of his six-string. everything he plays on has this sound (imo) of the guy who used to play metal but now is going in for some "sophistication." (i know that's an odd thing to say about the guy from last exit, but i can't shake the feeling myself. i haven't hung on to any of my last exit discs, wch is crazy b/c i love brotzmann & esp. sharrock.)

kinabalu said...

OK. Since I've spent most of the day staring at the screen of the home computer, I might as well do the odd bit of conversion. So here's the mp3 version:


My preferred tool for all kinds of ripping and burning and audio conversions is Easy CD - DA Extractor (professional). It's not a freebie, but on the other hand, a truly Swiss Army knife of solutions for digital audio.

Another little nifty programme is the Flac frontend which can be found here:


With this one, you can decode flac files to wav which can be burnt to cd and encoded to another format, such as mp3.

General info on flacs here to suit your need:


This is all getting a bit geeky, though. The music: well, this is probably the closest Derek Bailey would ever be to getting funky (if you like that sort of thing). I kinda like Bailey branching out in the 90s, getting close to the NY downtown scene, but it's admittedly a different bag from the old British school of improv, associated with the Incus label (which at times can get too austere for me). I very much dug the two records from Derek & the Ruins (not to be confused with Derek & the Dominos).

jazzme said...

Kinabalu I have an idea can I send you in emails music files to post thx for the mp3's going to try a convert from your link will let you kmnow how this worked out

Boromir said...

"...sorry folks. the dude's poison.
Harsh words indeed 1009. I'm sure he speaks highly of you.
Nobody's mentioned DJ Disk. I see there is an entry in wikipedia for "Turntablist" and Mr Disk also has an entry. Now I might be old fashioned, but is what he does really an art form ? I bet he's a mate of Bill's.

1009 said...

i knew i shouldn't have posted so soon after morning coffee. might have overstated my case. fact remains, though, that i can't get into anything he plays on (despite REALLY wanting to like stuff like last exit). on the other hand, i know he had something to do w/ putting derek & the ruins together, & i love their album tohjinbo (sp?).

jazzme said...

I have a hard time with Laswell as well but Last Exit just seemed to work and work well , for me anyway . Ruins was fortunate to have Bailey do an album with them it made them a little more enjoyable , but not by much , did Bailey ever do anything with Keiji Haino ? P.S Lowlife is a extreme low in the Brotzmann catalogue Steve

sotise said...

you find lowlife a low point in brotz's oeuvre because of laswell.

im not a great fan of laswell, and particularly dont like his ambient/dub/world musak kitch.
but to give him some credit as an improvisor i thought he (and brotzmann) was exeptional on low life, and the punked out free rock album 'killing time' by massacre from 1981 with fred frith.

my problem with some of the last exit stuff is sharrocks 80's metal tone, and somewhat rock licks orientation, particularly on 'iron path'

dalemcbdnl said...

This is a humorous discussion! I haven't down loaded this and probably won't; BUT I CAN enjoy some of Laswell's music particularly the Brotzmann collaborations. My problem with even the more interesting albums like Low Life and Massacre is after listening one or two times I tend to trade them in for music I find more engaging. They FEEL TOO chic-pop for me to keep coming back. So I dump them because I hear so very many limiting factors especially rhythmically and harmonically. They just seem rather restrained even when they are loud and "noisy." I don't know if I think Laswell is "poison" so much as BORING!

NOW, as far as I'm concerned, Bailey is another matter. I think of him like I do some of the most accomplished "outsider" artists (such as Thornton Dial). Or "busy scribblers" like Cy Twombley. They are folksy and/or eccentric AND QUITE UNIQUE. There is NO ONE like Bailey and some of those "Company" records and the duets with Evan Parker, Braxton and Oxley are, IN MY VIEW, musical treasures. My advice to people is to keep trying him. He was a crusty old dude who made few compromises in his music; AND he made a difference. Are his contributions to music as strong and important as those of Cecil Taylor, Coltrane or other powerful improvisers like Braxton, Evan Parker, Schlippenbach, Brotzmann or (for that matter) Julius Hemphill? I don't think so BUT he DID make me a more careful listener. At some point I was amazed and said to myself: "How did I miss this before -- This is REALLY amazing music."

Like Boromir I hesitate to comment on sound collagists (turn-tablists" is it?). It's organized sound so in a broad sense it's music. So far, however, what I'VE heard sounds WAY too much like latter day disco -- which, again, bores me NO END. But then, it could only be that, I'm old and arthritic and just don't feel like dancing. Perhaps a graphite cane would get me on my feet--NAW!!


sotise said...

dale, just one quibble here.
bailey may be eccentric ,but he's no self taught outsider.. not that i have any problems at all with outsider art.

bailey is a true master , who could play any style of music and did in fact until the mid sixties.
any guitarist will tell you, that bailey is a virtuoso( having absolure mastery, command of the instrument)

as he has repeatedly said before meeting people like bryars and oxley , he made purely commercial (in its many different forms) music.
he played in orchestra pits, swing and bebop bands, backing comedians, vaudeville acts, rock and roll, jingles you name it.

he probably plays anonymously on quite a lot of late 50's early 60's middle of the road albums.
say sandy shaw albums.

bailey says that when he played jazz.. before 1965 he had no concept of it as serious art music, he concieved of it as entertainment only.

so he cant really be considered an outsider.. a commercial music career as prolific as his before 1965 ..makes him very much an insider.

outsiders are often sui generis , visionaries having no formal training.. who arrive at their work often very much by means of a singleminded obsessively pursued narrative vision.
most outsider art either musical or visual is programatic even when it appears very abstract.
it in other words relates to specific emotional or spiritual events , is informed by a singular visionary outlook and (originally when the term was first coined, it was thought)by a an absence of knowledge, or willful ignorance of orthodox cultural norms.

bailey deliberately shunned (or thought he was)either implicit or explicit emotional content.
but he certainly didnt have that singleminded exclusive visionary outlook, and either willful or otherwise ignorance of and complete lack of interest in cultural norms and currants, which characterises the true outsider.

justin said...

The only six-string bassist who I really consistently enjoyed is Skuli Sverrisson, who has played in a vast number of settings, ranging from Allan Holdsworth's 80s fusion records to avant-garde outings by Chris Speed's Yeah No and Jim Black's Alasnoaxis onward to his own minimalist projects with guitarist Hilmar Jensson and bass-clarinetist Anthony Burr.

Laswell's overall musical being somewhat rubs me the wrong way in the same way that John Zorn's does. Every time I turn around, he's got more and more discs out and it's become harder and harder to expect that one will actually be really good. Some of their collaborative Painkiller sets I've listened to just do absolutely nothing for me. The Last Exit discs I've heard are also hard to keep interested in, although I do love Peter Brotzmann's work.

dalemcbdnl said...

Okay. Sotise has taken me to school. I know the definition of outsider art; BUT I was surely way off the mark in comparing Bailey's style, technique and unique (and I think somewhat eccentric) "emotional" content with the work done by some obsessive loner in the backwoods of Mississippi (or where-ever).

I think I had read someplace (or perhaps Evan Parker related this to me in a conversation) that Bailey intentionally shunned "implicit or explicit emotional content" in his work. Thanks for reminding me of this - I forget a lot these days. But continuing in this vein, this notion/intention to leave emotional content out of guitar playing reminds me a little of comments made by the pipe smoking chess player Braxton when he was a young man. Braxton confided in me in the late 80s that he regretted ever having made the remark because critics still occasionally remind him of it. A few writers continue to argue that his work is "too intellectual" and/or emotionally arid. Braxton feels that his "brash" remarks may have contributed to his public persona.

Anyway, Sotise, thanks for the backgrounding. You know what is going to happen next? I will pull out my copy of Ben Watson's book 'Derek Bailey and the Story of Free Improvisation' and read it. The next time I open my big trap (on Bailey) I'll know more about him. I'm curious, have you read this book? It looks dauntingly erudite but worth reading - slowly.


P.S. It might interest you to know (since you have the 2 Beak Doctor albums on you site) that I have an interesting digital recording I produced (when I was working and had money) of a performance by Evan Parker and Greg Goodman (in July, 1990). 2 sets, approximately 45 minutes each. Never released. Goodman didn't like the miking/mix. His inside the piano "flummery" (you know, ping pong balls and sundry metal objects) was a little hard to hear especially when Parker was basting away on tenor. BUT that was the way it was. My view is that there is over an hour of REALLY great stuff on the "tape" (recorded on a Toshiba DX900 digital VCR). Approximately 40% is solo work with the rest being brilliant free improvisational interactions between the two. hatHut (Uehlinger) liked the tape and was interested but Goodman was coy and Parker wanted MORE money up front rather than a box of 100 or so CDs to peddle. As a consequence the project never flew. So here I am with a unique 18 year old tape that should be edited and re-engineered before it loses integrity.
BTW, We also brought Bailey to town one time and Braxton three times. No tape of the Bailey performance but there are two unique tapes from Braxton (from'78 and '89). Well, enough boasting. I don't know your view/policy on bootlegs (I guess that's what this stuff I have is) but I THINK this music should be made available. Don't you?

sotise said...

my objection to bootleggers is that they are enriching themselves at the expense of others hard work.

i personally dont have any objections whatsoever with people trading live shows of concerts.

your tapes sound tantalizing and anytime you want to post here just say the word leave a gmail or hotmail address and ill invite you formally through blogger to make your own posts here on this blog.

as for watsons book its an informative and entertaining read , mostly for baileys own contributions.
bailey would have made a wonderful stand up comedian, his music is so thoroughly laced with that same dry humour.
watson is unintentionally funny, es[pecially when bailey takes the piss and watson confusedly doesnt realise it.

Art Simon said...

Thanks so much! I love the stuff where Bailey plays against a rhythm. Cool!

Mona said...

Is there any chance that 'Cassette' by Last Exit might see the light of day on the blog. It is the only thing I don't have. there is gig of Last Exit with Diamanda Galas @ Dime (Moers Fest 1986) at the moment. For anyone not able to torrent I passed them onto Nachette's 'Commercial Zone' blog and they are at his other blog 'Commercial Zine' (in FLAC)here.

jazzme said...

Mona skip over to any genre goes it is there now

kinabalu said...

Yes, it looks like "From the Board" is an update of the "Cassette Recordings" - at least according to the Allmusic site. Same content - the long piece is pretty good, though I was the only one to confess to enjoying it while listening to it live. My two companions looked like they wanted to escape to a safer place.

matt w said...

Just downloaded this and I really enjoy it -- I'm a huge Bailey fan and I like his stuff with Laswell too, and I thought it was cool to hear them with a DJ. (I really like the first Arcana album, with no DJ and with the late Tony Williams instead of DeJohnette -- powerful thrash stuff.)

There's a video of these folks available; it says it's in Berlin, so I guess not the same performance:


matt w said...

Boo, what I meant to say was belated thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

now this is what i called put "bitches brew" to the next dimension

Brian said...

thank you for this!

Anonymous said...


Silent Watcher said...

nice blog - nice show. Full disclosure...I work for Bill (well, somewhat more accurately for his manager but with Bill's direction). Was a huge fan long before I met him. Very polarizing figure and I understand people's gripes. But I also think that too often people can't judge individual projects on their own merits, but rather by his name. Although you can often pick out his 'touch', particularly when he plays on an album, I'm willing to bet there are a number of albums you wouldn't know he was involved in. That's just me - like I said, I'm a fan. Actually just finished gaining a complete (as far as I know) collection of all his released work....

Anonymous said...

Can you re-upload this recording please? Thanks! Great Blog!

SOTISE said...

Flac,split archive

JC said...


A little late to the party but the date is a year off:

Deutsches Jazz Festival
HR Sendesaal
Frankfurt am Main, Germany

07th June 1997

There was a video of this that floated some time back so presumably this is a broadcast source of some sort.