British musician Derek Bailey is one of the world's foremost guitarists, as well as a distinct and unusual player. His arsenal of effects, splintering riffs, flailing lines and at times seemingly atonal music comes close to being the guitar equivalent of Cecil Taylor, minus the percussive elements. Rhythmic and harmonic patterns can be identified (occasionally) with some effort, but Bailey's a spontaneous improviser whose solos explode and evolve in a powerful, highly unpredictable fashion. Both his unaccompanied works and collaborations with Anthony Braxton and fellow European improvisers like Evan Parker are not designed for most tastes. Calling them non-commercial doesn't even address their uniqueness; outside of musicians and critics, it's hard to fathom many listeners who'd even want to sit through much of Bailey's music despite the fact he's an exceptional talent. But his work is quite different from anything you could hear elsewhere; it's sometimes abstract, other times lyrical, alternately acoustic and electric. Bailey's arsenal includes a 19-string guitar, ukelele and crackle-box. Bailey worked in the '50s and early '60s in theatres, dance halls and other settings all over Sheffield. He moved to London from Sheffield in 1966, and began playing free music with John Stevens, Parker, Paul Rutherford and others. He joined the Spontaneous Music Ensemble for a while before working for five years in Tony Oxley's sextet where he began to attract international attention. Bailey formed a trio with Rutherford and Barry Guy in 1970, and started the Incus label with Oxley and Parker. He's been featured on over 50 albums since the late '60s, and Incus has also issued numerous recordings featuring Parker and many other European free musicians. Bailey led the group Company during the '70s, which played in Europe, Africa, North and South America and in Japan. He's done more solo dates in the '80s, while continuing to play in duos and small groups. He published a book on improvisation in 1980 in England that's been translated into several languages. Besides Braxton and his fellow English musicians, Bailey's played with Steve Lacy, Dave Holland, George Lewis and John Zorn among others. His CDs can be located via mail-order.