Bailey, Derek and Christine Jeffrey

Band members               Related acts

- Derek Bailey (RIP 2005) -- guitar, ukulele

- Christine Jeffrey -- vocals




- Derek Bailey (solo efforts)

- Company (Derek Bailey)

- Iskra (Derek Bailey)

- Music Improvisation Company (Derek Bailey and 

  Christine Jeffrey)

- The Spontaneous Music Ensemble (Derek Bailey)





Genre: experimental

Rating: where to begin ???

Title:  Views from Six Windows

Company: Metalanguage

Catalog: ML114 A/B
Year: 1981

Country/State: Sheffield, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5922

Price: $40.00


Derek Bailey was a complete unknown to me other than he's a big deal in the jazz and experimental communities and he has an extensive recording career that dates back from the mid-1960s stretching up to his death in 2005.  


I stumbled across this one at a yard sale buying it from an older gentleman who happened to have a big collection of albums by the likes of Captain Beefheart and Zappa.  I remember asking him to describe this one and the guy just shrugged his shoulders and said it was impossible to describe.  Combined with the Anthony Braxton write-up on the cover it got my curiosity up.  How could I go wrong for $1.00?


Released by the California-based Metallanguage label (owned by Henry Kaiser and Larry Ochs (of Rova Saxophone Quartet fame), 1981's "Views From Six Windows" was a collaboration with vocalist Christine Jeffrey.  So here's what Anthony Braxton's gushing blurb had to say about the set:


"The most amazing guitar player on the planet.  There are, of course, many words people use to comment on a given musician's universe and life's work and certainly it is difficult to accurately say something 'real' in this context.  Nevertheless, I consider Derek Bailey and his music to be one of the most significant contributions to creative music (and world creativity) in this time period.  I Believe that this viewpoint will be universally recognized in the (hopefully) not too distant future.  The realness of Bailey's work and life gives all of us strength to continue our work."


Pretty heady stuff, n'est pas?  Okay, so all of the hyperbole aside, what the world did this one sound like?  Well, imagine a group of traditional Japanese musicians playing biawas, kotos and shamisens with a couple of guys messing around with rusty tools and Yoko Ono adding 'color' via her distinctive warble, peeps, and occasional incidental body noises.  Jeffrey sounded like she was choking on 'Here Today'.  Even though it sounded like Bailey was playing exotic stringed instruments the liner notes indicated it was just a ukulele and acoustic guitar.  Tracks like 'Nothing Lasts Like the Makeshift' and 'One Young One' were best described as abstract jazz with a major emphasis on abstract.  There's no doubt that Bailey was a talented player, but that technical skill did nothing to make the collection fun.  'Course nobody every said music had to be fun ...  after all concepts such as melody and rhythm are so limiting, so bourgeois ...  Yeah, I can hear music snobs reaching for their pens and daggers, but this is definitely what would be deemed 'challenging' material.  For most folks 'challenging' would equate to unlistenable.   Let's just say this wasn't my cup of tea ...


"Views from Six Windows" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Here Today ... (instrumental)

2.) One Old One (instrumental)

3.) Nothing Lasts Like the Makeshift (instrumental)

4.) One Young One  (instrumental)

5.) Two Part Pier (instrumental)


(side 2)
1.) For a Day Or a Stay (instrumental)

2.) Adrienne (instrumental)

3.) What Now? (instrumental)


There are two versions of the album.  Musically I believe they featured the same track listing, but the first 1980 issue (same catalog number) sported different cover art.



I've never read it, but Bailey also wrote an influential book of improvised music - 1980's Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice (Da Capo Press ISBN 0-306-80528-0)