Victor Bailey (musician)

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Victor Bailey
Bailey in 2008
Bailey in 2008
Background information
Born(1960-03-27)March 27, 1960
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedNovember 11, 2016(2016-11-11) (aged 56)
Stafford, Virginia, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, pop
Years active1980–2016
LabelsAtlantic, Zebra, ESC, Chesky
Associated actsWeather Report

Victor Bailey (March 27, 1960 – November 11, 2016) was an American bass guitar player.[1] He was the bassist for Weather Report during their final years from 1982 to 1986, and launched a solo career in 1988. As a musician, Bailey was known for his signature scat-bass solos.[2]


Born in Philadelphia, on March 27, 1960, Victor Randall Bailey was raised by a highly musical family. His father, Morris Bailey Jr., was an active musician and composer, while his uncle, Donald "Duck" Bailey, was a jazz drummer, who played on numerous Blue Note records (e.g., Jimmy Smith Trio, Hampton Hawes, Carmen McRae, Dizzy Gillespie).[3] As a child, Bailey played the drums, but ultimately switched to bass guitar after the bassist in his neighborhood band walked out of a band practice. Because young Victor took an immediate liking to the instrument, his father encouraged him to become a bass player.[4] Beginning in 1978, at the age of 18, Bailey attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston after being disqualified from naval service due to asthma.[5]

Like his father, Bailey suffered from Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease for most of his adult life. As the disease progressed, Bailey began using a cane to offset his weakened legs. The weakness finally spread to his upper body, necessitating his 2015 retirement from performing and from his teaching position at Berklee College of Music.[6] He died on November 11, 2016 in Stafford, VA,[7] likely from complications from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease).[8]

Fender released a Victor Bailey Signature acoustic bass guitar,[9] as well as the Victor Bailey Jazz Bass (Artist series), available in 4, 5-string, fretted and fretless versions.[10] Bailey also used Markbass amplifiers.[11]


As leader[edit]

Omar Hakim[edit]

  • Rhythm Deep (GRP, 1989)

Steps Ahead[edit]

  • Magnetic (Elektra, 1986)
  • Vibe (NYC, 1995)

Weather Report[edit]

  • Procession (Columbia, 1983)
  • Domino Theory (Columbia, 1984)
  • Sportin' Life (Columbia, 1985)
  • This Is This! (Columbia, 1986)


  1. ^ "CBW: Larry Coryell/Victor Bailey/Lenny White "Traffic" Chesky". The Washington Post. February 9, 2007. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  2. ^ Harris M. Lentz III (2016). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2016. McFarland. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-476-67031-7.
  3. ^ "Passing of Donald Bailey". Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Interview with bass player Victor Bailey". For Bass Players Only. 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  6. ^ "Victor Bailey". October 30, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  7. ^ "Victor Bailey, RIP". Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Health Update, Sept. 27th 2016". Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Gear and equipment". Victor Bailey. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  10. ^ Fender (2008-03-05), Fender® Victor Bailey Signature Basses, retrieved 2016-04-26
  11. ^ "MARKBASS - Victor Bailey". MARKBASS Bass Amplification.

External links[edit]