Incus Video VD04 Gig

John Stevens/Derek Bailey

John Stevens, drums, mini-trumpet; Derek Bailey, electric guitar.

Gig (50.25).

Recorded 1 August 1992 at Jazz Rumours, Stoke Newington, London.

Video by Paul Davies; produced and edited by Paul Wilson.

Design by Karen Brookman.

Derek Bailey's notes: 'The pub gig has been a staple of British musical lowlife for as long as anyone can remember. It figures pretty low on any list of preferred playing situations for me, but for John Stevens, I think it might have been his favourite playing context, one in which he could combine his commitment to music and to, let's say, conviviality.

The drawbacks to a pub gig are too many and too obvious to need cataloguing, but for our kind of playing and on a good night they can sometimes be outweighed by certain advantages: the informality, the absence of the kind of bullshit usually associated with performed music, the attentiveness of the listeners. And these performances do seem to attract listeners, not 'audience'.

The video was made by Paul Davies for a specific, now abandoned, project and I didn't become aware of its existence, in its entirety, until some time after John's death. The lighting is poor, there is the occasional unexplained lacuna and the cameraman doesn't always seem to have the best seat in the house, but, after all, this is a pub gig.'

Video samples

The visual quality of the original video is not great and this was particularly noticeable when digitising sections. The red glow that pervades the original cast a definite gloom on the digital video and so an attempt at brightness and contrast correction has been made to give more of an impression of what is going on. Also, to reduce the file sizes to manageable proportions, the audio has been compressed quite markedly, though still, hopefully, without losing the feel of the original.

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