Victor Bailey (Weather Report, Lady Gaga, Steps Ahead, Madonna…)
“I had been telling everyone since I was sixteen years old that I was going to play with Weather Report after Jaco. And when word got out that Jaco had gone solo, everyone in New York said to me ‘that’s your gig!”
The late Victor Bailey not only assumed the Weather Report bass chair after the aforementioned icon propelled the band to international stardom, he pushed Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter’s jazz juggernaut to even greater artistic heights as evidenced on his debut slab with WR – Procession (1983), which to my ears, was their most definitive collection.
Son of writer, arranger, producer Morris Bailey, who was a major player in The Sound of Philadelphia, working with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Nina Simon, LaBelle, Billy Paul, and The Stylistics, Victor – akin to so many bass players, Victor commenced his life’s musical journey as a drummer. And as is the case with many bassists, when the bass player quit the band, Victor was drafted, displaying a natural affinity for the instrument.
Working the doghouse and the electric, Bailey studied at Berklee College of Music – his classmates included a who’s who of contemporary jazz: Kevin Eubanks, Greg Osby, Branford Marsalis, Cindy Blackman Santana, Jeff Watts, Stu Ham and a guitarist by the name of Steve Vai, to cite a few.
A composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, educator, solo recording artist, and sideman, Bailey anchored a diverse array of artists including Lady Gaga, Madonna, Michael Brecker, Steps Ahead, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Larry Coryell, Santana, Lenny White, Kenny Garrett, Sting, Madonna, Pharoah Sanders, and Sonny Rollins to cite a select few.
Fender included Victor in the Artist Bass Series, with a Victor Baily Signature Jazz Bass.