Monday, May 18, 2015

Barre Phillips Solo in Vienna

  Where would I go, if I could go, who would I be, if I could be, what would I say, if I had a voice, who says this, saying it's me? Answer simply, someone answer simply. It's the same old stranger as ever, for whom alone accusative I exist, in the pit of my inexistence, of his, of ours, there's a simple answer. It's not with thinking he'll find me, but what is he to do, living and bewildered, yes, living, say what he may. Forget me, know me not, yes, that would be the wisest, none better able than he. Why this sudden affability after such desertion, it's easy to understand, that's what he says, but he doesn't understand. I'm not in his head, nowhere in his old body, and yet I'm there, for him I'm there, with him, hence all the confusion. That should have been enough for him, to have found me absent, but it's not, he wants me there, with a form and a world, like him, in spite of him, me who am everything, like him who is nothing. And when he feels me void of existence it's of his he would have me void, and vice versa, mad, mad, he's mad. The truth is he's looking for me to kill me, to have me dead like him, dead like the living. He knows all that, but it's no help his knowing it, I don't know it, I know nothing. He protests he doesn't reason and does nothing but reason, crooked, as if that could improve matters. He thinks words fail him, he thinks because words fail him he's on his way to my speechlessness, to being speechless with my speechlessness, he would like it to be my fault that words fail him, of course words fail him. He tells his story every five minutes, saying it is not his, there's cleverness for you. He would like it to be my fault that he has no story, of course he has no story, that's no reason for trying to foist one on me.

Samuel Beckett 
Texts For Nothing

Barre Phillips (born October 27, 1934 in San Francisco, California) is a jazz and free improvisation bassist. A professional musician since 1960, he migrated to New York City in 1962, then to Europe in 1967. Since 1972 he has been based in southern France where in 2014 founded the European Improvisation Center

He studied briefly in 1959 with S. Charles Siani, Assistant Principal Bassist with the San Francisco Symphony During the 1960s he recorded with (among others) Eric Dolphy, Jimmy Giuffre, Archie Shepp, Attila Zoller, Lee Konitz and Marion Brown.

Phillips' 1968 recording of solo bass improvisations, issued as Journal Violone in the USA, Unaccompanied Barre in England, and Basse Barre in France, is generally credited as the first solo bass record. A 1971 record with Dave Holland, Music from Two Basses, was probably the first record of improvised double bass duets.

In the 1970s he was a member of the well-regarded and influential group The Trio with saxophonist John Surman and drummer Stu Martin. In the 1980s and 1990s he played regularly with the London Jazz Composers Orchestra led by fellow bassist Barry Guy. He worked on soundtracks of the motion pictures Merry-Go-Round (1981), Naked Lunch (1991, together with Ornette Coleman) and Alles was baumelt, bringt Glück! (2013).

As a free improviser he has worked with (among many others) bassists Peter Kowald and Joëlle Léandre, guitarist Derek Bailey, clarinetists Theo Jörgensmann and Aurélien Besnard, saxophonists Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker and Joe Maneri, and pianist Paul Bley.

Barre is the father of rock guitarist Jay Crawford from the band Bomb, of the bassist Dave Phillips and of singer Claudia Phillips, who was a one-hit wonder in France in 1987 with "Quel souci La Boétie".