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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Derek Bailey and the sign of 4 project
Category: Other Musicians
From: Barry Chabala (Clifton, NJ)

Hi Pat, can you talk a little about the Sign of Four gigs and sessions? As a major fan of free improv, i was really excited by this project! One of my all time favorites. what was the interaction like with derek?

Pat’s Answer:

derek is a musician i have admired from a distance for a long time. he is one of the few guitar players in modern times who has not only forged an unmistakable voice on the instrument, but significantly altered the potential of what the instrument could become in an improvisational setting.

the project came about as a result of the two drummers (greg bendian and paul wertico) who had played alot with derek and i respectively, suggesting to both us that we should do it. for me, i was happy for the chance to do it - and it is one of the records that i have been involved in over the past few years that i am most proud of.

one of the things that i wanted to do with this record was that i really wanted to make one that was totally unlike any record that i or derek had ever made before. i feel we did that - and that record has some amazing music on it, with a lot of variety within it's own vocabulary.

i predicted at the time two things; one was that a lot of people would have a hard time listening to it because of the particular density that that vocabulary involves. the other was that it would roundly dissed by members and critics associated with the so-called avant garde community, as was song x (the record i made with ornette coleman in 1985) at the time it was released. that predicted dissing, by the way, would in fact have absolutely nothing to do with the actual music that was actually played, even though it would be cloaked in the rhetoric of musical discussion.

so, since it seems i was right about those predictions, what is today's prediction? (this bb is turning into a jazz version of the psycic friends network)

like song x, i predict that the real appreciation of so4 will come later - it is a very special record that probably has not found it's true audience yet. i would say that it is a record that is kind of ahead of it's time - and one that only could have been made by those particular people at that time - always a good sign. all of this is a long way around just saying this - that i am really glad that you enjoyed the record.