Vortex, London - 23 March 2000
Yorkshire-born Bailey was making a rare reappearance at the Vortex in the company of the free-saxophonist John Butcher. A packed Vortex was grateful for this fleeting glimpse. Bailey and Butcher played the first half seperately, the second together.
Their duo was like the second half of a match in which both teams had suggested sparks yet to come. Bailey began with fast, upstruck chords and scrambling runs while Butcher played whirring, wriggling tenor sax figures. When they backed off, it was initially into blearier electronic guitar effects against sonorously extended tenor sounds, then a fluidity bordering on orthodox jazz time, then a strange march from the guitar which Butcher countered with flapping noises like a newspaper caught against an open window, then with banshee hoots.
The intensity increased, Bailey's rhythmic playing becoming furiously active, a tumult of splintering-glass noises, or sounds like hammerings inside a piano-frame.
Typically, this was not a conversation, in the way that the to-and-fro phrasing of a jazz jam often is. But a heated, full-on collaboration it unmistakably was.
The Guardian - John Fordham.