Monday, March 24, 2014

Derek Bailey & Jakob Draminsky Højmark: "Live in Barcelona"

Derek Bailey & Jakob Draminsky Højmark: "Live in Barcelona"
vídeo: Josep M. Jordana
2008 - 49 min
Concert recorded 25 juny 2004 at Nou Prodigi, Barcelona.

The most detailed chronology of Bailey’s changing relationship with the guitar comes from Barcelona pianist Dr. Francesc Diaz I Melis’ note to the second instalment in the Barcelona Chronicles, the DVD called All Thumbs (Incus DVD 02).  According to Diaz I Melis, Bailey began experiencing muscular difficulties in the spring of 2004, primarily in the right hand. On June 25, 2004 Bailey dropped his plectrum – in his case the particularly thick flat pick favored by many more traditional jazz guitarists –during a duet concert with the Danish composer/improviser Jakob Draminsky Højmark.    

There’s a fundamental difference between playing guitar with a pick and playing with one’s thumb. It’s an adage of traditional guitar picking that single-note lines are played with alternating up and down strokes, part of the playing tradition of the instrument and a key to achieving speed. The special attention paid to Wes Montgomery’s thumb-picking is that Montgomery achieved very fast bop lines with such an unconventional technique (so does John Abercrombie). It also changes the sound of the instrument, creating that particularly warm, mellifluous sound that Montgomery had, and even a certain hollowness at the center of the sound. It’s a difficult and unusual switch for a guitarist to make, no doubt especially so for a musician who has been playing guitar for over 60 years.