On the Edge: Improvisation in Music was produced for the British television in 1992, by Chanel 4. The four part mini series was written and produced by Derek Bailey. It’s a visual extension of his seminal book Improvisation: Its Nature And Practice In Music, and is wonderful. Bailey, who in my opinion was one of the most important musicians ever to have emerged from Britain, was well know for his advocation of improvisation as an art form, his belief in active listening, and of music as a live idiom. He was often regarded as cranky and cantankerous, but comes off as charming, and incredibly articulate in the series. What’s particularly important, is that Bailey’s argument is not structured to advocate his generation’s practice, but rather toward the importance of improvisation in the broadest sense. He addresses Jazz, music from diverse cultures from across the world, blues, rock, the gestures of children and beyond. Like many great artists, his hope was to help change how people saw the world, and what was possible. It’s a wonderful journey through the possibility of creation. It blows my mind that Bailey convinced anyone to let him make it, but here it is. All four part after the jump. Highly recommended!


Part One:


Part Two:


Part Three:


Part Four:


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