• 1. THE FIRST SET - Area 1 (08:23)
  • 2. THE FIRST SET - Area 2 (03:12)
  • 3. THE FIRST SET - Area 3 (open) (08:43)
  • 4. THE FIRST SET - Area 4 (solo) (02:44)
  • 5. THE FIRST SET - Area 5 (05:21)
  • 6. THE FIRST SET - Area 6 (06:11)
  • 7. THE SECOND SET - Area 7 (06:48)
  • 8. THE SECOND SET - Area 8 (06:22)
  • 9. THE SECOND SET - Area 9 (solo) (05:56)
  • 10. THE SECOND SET - Area 10 (04:32)
  • 11. THE SECOND SET - Area 11 (open) (15:28)
  • 12. THE SECOND SET - Area 12 (03:58)

First Duo Concert

Flute, Clarinet, Soprano Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Sopranino Saxophone – Anthony Braxton

Amplified Guitar, Guitar [19-string (approx)] – Derek Bailey

Their earliest meeting on record - the complete London (Wigmore Hall) concert (organised by Emanem), featuring them both at the top of their form. Highly acclaimed by both enthusiasts and critics. 77 minutes.
Excerpts from sleeve notes:

During the middle 1960s, several centres creating highly original new music appeared independently - unknown to each other and to the rest of the world at first. Two of the most important of these centres were Chicago and London. Both were strongly influenced by the New York City based free jazz scene, yet both reacted against certain aspects of it. For instance they both used a lot of space, often involving extended quiet passages that ventured near and even included silence, and they put greater emphasis on improvising as a group, rather than as soloists with accompaniment. Both were also strongly influenced by contemporary composed music, and by several genres of traditional music from around the world.

There were major differences, however. The Chicagoans nearly always used pre-composed material (often quite complex) in their performances, whilst the most radical Londoners generally dropped written material very early on in their explorations. Also, the improvisational language of the Chicagoans tended to sound like (free) jazz, whereas the more adventurous Londoners sounded more like certain areas of modern composed music - although it should be pointed out that both ventured into previously unheard sound worlds. (Needless to say, all of the above is a generalisation with innumerable exceptions, rather than the whole picture.)
Two of the leading exponents of these two centres were Anthony Braxton (b. 1945) and Derek Bailey (b. 1930). The former grew up in Chicago, whereas the latter did not move to London until the mid 1960s, having grown up in Sheffield. The two first came into direct contact when Braxton spent some time in London in 1971. They first worked together at a 1973 Braxton quartet concert in Paris that began with a duo piece. The concert preserved on this CD was their second public performance together, and was the first time that Braxton had officially performed in Britain. It was also one of the first concerts of improvised music to take place in the Wigmore Hall.

The first part of the rehearsal held the previous day established what the musicians did not want to do - Bailey did not want to play notated compositions in unison, while Braxton did not want to improvise totally. A compromise was reached. Each half or set of the concert was to consist of a (different) sequence of six predetermined areas to improvise in. Thus, for example, Area 2 is around staccato sounds, Area 6 about sustained sounds, Area 10 about repeated motifs, etc. One section of each set, however, was left open (unpredetermined) to allow for the inclusion of other ideas that might arise during the concert. (These are Area 3 and Area 11). Also one section of the First Set was designated a guitar solo (Area 4), and one of the Second an alto saxophone solo (Area 9). Each of the two sets was played without a break.

Note that for most of the concert, Bailey played a normal electro-acoustic six-string guitar augmented by stereo amplification, with the sound coming out of the two speakers controlled by two volume pedals. In Area 7 and Area 8, he used his then other guitar, which had about nineteen strings, enhanced by a small practice amplifier. Two of these strings were "contra-bass" ones which went around his feet.

Unfortunately, there is not enough room on this CD for the rehearsal extracts that were previously issued on LPs, and these do not add enough material to make up two decently filled CDs. These are now available on FAIRLY EARLY DEREK BAILEY WITH POSTSCRIPTS.

Album label: 
Release date: 
01.10 / 1974
Recording date: 
30.06 / 1974
Recording location: 
London (Wigmore Hall)
Artwork design : Val Wilmer & Martin Davidson
Mastering engineer : Martin Davidson
Producer : Martin Davidson
Recording engineer : Martin Davidson

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