Sam Bailey is a musician,teacher and event curator.
[His creative practice is divided between playing music, teaching music and devising and curating experimental art events / creating performance arts events and building communities.]
His current musical practice focuses on solo and collaborative improvisation with amplified prepared piano. Alongside a recent album [hyperlink] and regular solo performances Sam has worked in this context with over 100 different collaborators including Evan Parker (saxophone), John Butcher (saxophone), Graham Lambkin (field recordings, voice), Hyelim Kim (Taegum), Kristin Fredericksson (puppetry), Tina Krasevec and David Leahy (dance), Jesse Dunford-Wood (chef), Miles Irving (wild food expert), Toma Gouband (rocks and sticks), London Contemporary Voices (choir), Hand of Stabs (progressive pagan skiffle).
[Ben Rowley (16mm film), Ben Horner (podcast documentary), Angela Pickard and Canterbury Dance Company, Matt Wright (turntables and electronics),] Kelvin Corcoran, David Herd, Simon Smith, Juha Virtanen, Carol Watts, Kat Peddie (poets). He also plays alongside Mark Holub (drums) and Liran Donin (bass) in the jazz-rock group Jack Hues and the Quartet.
He is much in demand as a teacher. He currently lectures, teaches piano and runs ensembles at Canterbury Christ Church University, teaches A-level music at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, teaches piano privately and gives occasional lectures for other institutions.
Sam is the founder-director of Free Range: a charity based in the South East of England that presents world-class experimental music, film and poetry events with a policy of free-entry.
Sam strongly believes that his work as an event organiser and community builder is part of his creative practice, that event curation and community building can be a creative practices.
Sam founded, and is the current director of, Free Range: a charity that presents innovative, world-class experimental arts events with a policy of free-entry in Canterbury, Kent, UK.
Free Range has worked with more than 665 artists to present over 168 events reaching approximately 8400 audience members. We have become a registered charity; worked closely with local festivals, universities, record labels and artist collectives; started our own record label and released two albums; received a Cultural Pioneer award; organized a one-day festival; made significant contributions to several local festivals; presented live broadcasts on local radio and built an online archive of 368 live recordings that have received 34,000 listens in over 50 countries. Most importantly Free Range has helped to create a strong regional community of artists, audience members, institutions and organizations that care about new music and poetry.
The values and aesthetic of the organisation:
Listening to rich, complex stuff like improvised music or modern poetry is an active, creative process of finding and making meaning whilst remaining present and alert to a dense flow of ambiguities and associations. It is demanding, or it should be demanding. It requires openness, patience, generosity, deftness, imagination and discrimination. Such listening is important work: it keeps us awake, keeps our habits of perception pliable and helps us to engage with the world afresh.
And this has added power when it takes place amongst a community of people, gathering regularly for the purpose of engaging in this kind of listening.
Should it be a surprise that this uncompromising aesthetic is engaging and accessible to a broad range of audience members and artists? Free Range certainly seems to have tapped into a hunger for independent cultural events presented with integrity, humour, openness, playfulness, provocation and a sense of experimentation. The last event of our most recent season featured an 24-piece ensemble of local musicians, poets, dancers and a puppeteer performing to an enthusiastic audience of children, students, young adults, retired people and everyone in-between, all of whom joined in a communal singing piece to finish the season together.