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Jazz / Free Jazz
British free improvisation label, established in 1970 by Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley and Evan Parker.
"Quite simply, Company produced some of the most stimulating improvised music you will ever hear." - John Eyles
1982 line-up of Company. Keith Tippett, Fred Frith and George Lewis are joined by concert pianist Ursula Oppens and composer & harpist Anne LeBaron. After playing more frrequently in Japan in the late seventies, Bailey had also invited Motoharu Yoshizawa on bass and Akio Suzuki on assorted instruments like glass harmonica.
Derek Bailey / guitarJulie Tippetts / guitar, voice, fluteMoto Yoshizawa / bassFred Frith / electric guitar, electronics, percussionAkio Suzuki / glass harmonica, spring gong, kikkokiririkiAnne LeBaron / harpKeith Tippett / pianoUrsula Opens / pianoGeorge Lewis / trombonePhil Wachsmann / violin, electronics
Recorded by Jean-Marc Foussat. Produced by Derek Bailey & Evan Parker. Design by Karen Brookman. Financial assistance by The Arts Council.
Company – Epiphany
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Kicking off a series of collaborations between Honest Jon's Records and Incus: Solo Guitar Volume 1, a reissue of Derek Bailey's Solo Guitar release on Incus in 1971, with additional tracks included on previous reissues and a performance at York University in 1972. Recorded in 1971, this was Bailey's first solo album. Its cover is an iconic montage of photos taken in the guitar shop where he worked. He and the photographer piled up the instruments whilst the proprietor was at lunch, with Bailey promptly sacked on his return. The LP was issued in two versions over the years -- Incus 2 and 2R -- with different groupings of free improvisations paired with Bailey's performances of notated pieces by his friends Misha Mengelberg, Gavin Bryars, and Willem Breuker. All this music is here, plus a superb solo performance at York University in 1972, a welcome shock at the end of an evening of notated music. It's a striking demonstration of the way Bailey rewrote the language of the guitar with endless inventiveness, intelligence, and wit. As throughout the series, the recordings are newly transferred from tape at Abbey Road, remastered by Rashad Becker, and available for download exclusively here.
Derek Bailey / guitar, synthesizer
Tracks 1-13 recorded by Bob Woolford and Hugh Davies. Photographs by Roberto Masotti. Mastered by Rashad Becker.
Derek Bailey – Solo Guitar Volume 1
"Duo between Zorn and one of most representative guitarist of improvisational music - Fred Frith. Both are in excellent form and the album is great evidence how fruitful and interesting improvisational jazz can sound when played by two masters. Only Frith's guitar and Zorn's alto sax sounds (plus some minimalistic tapes loops) build aural picture of thousand nuances. Not as extremely freaky as Zorn's early experimental works, this music contains one of the best interplays in both musicians history. And - this release is great example how good improvisational sax player John Zorn is ( during last decade or even more he doesn't demonstrate his virtuosity too often).Far not an easy listening, but one of great "classical" Zorn's avant-garde jazz works, must have album for every serious Zorn's music fan or researcher." - Jazz Music Archives
John Zorn / alto sax
Fred Frith / guitar
Recorded by Fred Frith + John Zorn for Incus Records. Cover designed by Arai Yasunori.
John Zorn & Fred Frith – The Art of Memory
Honest Jon's reissue of this classic Incus record.
"Multi-reedist Tony Coe was born in 1934, four years after guitarist Derek Bailey. He cut his teeth as a career jazzman with Humphrey Lyttleton, before an extended stint with the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band. On this rare 1979 duo outing, he sticks to clarinet. And though that instrument has an illustrious jazz pedigree, Coe’s playing here is something else.
It’s worth noting that the clarinettist has also played under the baton of arch-modernist Pierre Boulez, the kind of composer Derek Bailey enjoyed taking to task in his book Improvisation. You might think the Frenchman’s uncompromising serialism and the free playing Bailey defended with such passion all his life would have little in common, yet both men were hugely influenced by Anton Webern. It’s an influence you can hear right through Bailey’s career in his obsessive exploration of tight parcels of registrally-fixed pitches, notably those trademark ringing harmonics. Meanwhile, Coe’s meandering semitones and sinuous arabesques here recall both Boulez’s clarinet writing in Domaines, and the harmonic world of Boulez’s own teacher Olivier Messiaen. Still, no traditional classical musical notation could ever render the extraordinary rhythmic subtlety and timbral complexity of this music. It’s at one and the same time dazzlingly virtuosic — Coe and Bailey are on stellar form throughout, and have enough sense to, yes, accompany each other where needs be — and supremely lyrical and spacious. An absolute delight." - Honest Jon's
Derek Bailey & Tony Coe – Time
Oxley's experimental electronics album. Anyone who has heard Pat Thomas do Black Top will hear Pat in this - high end keys, spoken word samples, worked with Matt Wand on drum machine and percussion, rather than Orphy Robinson. In fact, Derek and Tony sit out and let them record "Duo MP" - a sparse, alien affair with fantastic tape loops. The following "TD Duo" is Bailey and Bevan all skittering and brittle, just as you'd imagine. Overall it's the quartet that really works, and you can tell how much fun they're having. A natural foreground to Derek's exeriments on Limescale, and again, Pat Thomas's work on Re-rectangle's And (with Steve Noble and Derek Bailey) and later his duo Black Top.
Matt Wand / drum machine, electronics, tapesDerek Bailey / electric guitarPat Thomas / electronics, keyboardTony Oxley / percussion
Recorded on 8th April 1992 at WDR, Cologne, by Werner Srasser & Peter Eichenseher. Edited by Ulrich Kurth. Design by Karen Brookman. Painting ‘The Singer’ by Tony Oxley. Photography by Max Lautenschlager. Post Production by John Haddon.
The Tony Oxley Quartet – s/t
"Oxley and Bailey first played together in 1963. Although they come from the same city and share the same kind of background their meeting was, in a way, coincidental. Bailey - 10 years older than Oxley - after some years working away from their hometown, returned for what was initially intended to be a brief family visit. The musical situation he found there persuaded him to stay. Oxley and Bailey then worked together, continuously and intensively, for the next three years and developed, with Gavin Bryars who was then a bass player, their own particular approach to free improvisation.
Since 1966, their working relationship, although intermittent, has continued in a multitude of different playing situations. Initially, during the late 60's and early 70's, much of it was in the context of Tony Oxley's small groups - quartet, quintet and sextet. From the late 70's on, it would sometimes be within Derek Bailey's improvisor's ensemble, Company.
Throughout, and increasingly in the 1990's, they have played in duo. These recordings, a London studio recording made in 1977, and a concert recorded in New York 1995, are testament to the remarkable richness and sustained variety of their musical relationship." - Simon Kelly
Derek Bailey / electric & acoustic guitars
Tony Oxley / acoustic & electric percussion, violin
Tracks 1-4: Recorded in Soho, London in February 1977 by Kevin Spencer. Tracks 5-10: Recorded at the Knitting Factory, NYC in September 1995 by James Mclean. PPhotographs of Derek Bailey & Tony Oxley in concert (France, May, 1997) by Franz-Heinrich Busch. Post Production & design by Karen Brookman.
Derek Bailey & Tony Oxley – Soho Suites
The Bailey/Gaines duo collides head-on with the IST string trio; the groups fracture & reform in a myriad fascinating ways.
"Features a little-league superstar line-up joined by the veteran American hoofer Will Gaines. Some fascinating interplay between guitar, bass, cello, harp and Gaines’s amazing, Duracell-powered feet." Stewart Lee, Sunday Times
Will Gaines / danse claquettes Mark Wastell / cello Rhodri Davies / harp Derek Bailey / guitar Simon H. Fell/ double bass
Recorded on January 13 & 14th, 1999 at the Théâtre des Bernadines, Marseille. Artwork & design by Karen Brookman. Photos by Mark Wastell.
Company – Company in Marseille
First two days of Company Week 1991 where musicians came together for five days improvisation - most of them meeting for the first time.
Alexander Balanescu / violin
Vanessa Maskness / voice
Yves Robert / trombone
Derek Bailey / guitar
Paul Lovens / percussion
Paul Rogers / bass
Pat Thomas / electronics & keyboard
Buckethead / guitar
John Zorn / alto saxophone
Recorded by Paul Wilson & Matt Saunders. Produced by Derek Bailey. Post production by John Haddon. Artwork & design by Karen Brookman. Photos by Martin L McGain. Made with the assistance of the British Library Sound Archive.
Company – Company 91 Volume 1
Incredible ensemble for Company Week in '97. Twenty-six minute opening track sees the whole collective scrambling into full-blown ecstatic chaos,follwed by two mega duos from Anthony Braxton and Steve Lacy.
Maarten Altena / bass Tristan Honsinger / cello Anthony Braxton / clarinet, flute, alto saxophone, soprano saxophoneDerek Bailey / guitar Wadada Leo Smith / trumpet, fluteEvan Parker / soprano saxophone, tenor saxophoneSteve Lacy / soprano saxophone
Recorded By Nick Glennie-Smith at The ICA London by Riverside on Thursday 26 May during the 1977 Company Week. Artwork by Iain Patterson. Typography by Nicolette Amettte.
Company – Company 5
Arguably the historic birthing of British Free Music. Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Hugh Davies, and percussionist Jamie Muir formed the Music Improvisation Company in 1968 after Parker and Bailey met had met in Spontaneous Music Ensemble earlier. Essential.
Hugh Davies / electronics, organDerek Bailey / guitarJamie Muir / PercussionEvan Parker / soprano saxophone, amplified autoharp
Tracks 1-4 were recorded, in mono, 4/7/69 in London; 5 & 6 were recorded, in stereo, 18/6/70 in London. Previously issued on Incus LP 17 in 1976. Recorded by Bob Wolford. Post Production by John Haddon. Layout by Karen Brookman. Painting by Jamie Muir.
The Music Improvisation Company - 1968 - 1971
Recorded back in November 1996 at Moat Studios in London during the same sessions which brought about some of the Tokuma releases (Drawing Close, Attuning - The Respective Signs Of Order And Chaos), apparently. Features Bailey on electric guitar and Haino on vocals only. The two share a passion for the atonal, and a sense of humour - they called this record "Songs" after all.
Derek Bailey / electric guitar
Keiji Haino / vocals
Recorded November 1996. Recording and post-production at Moat Studios, London. Artwork by Haino. Design & layout by Karen Brookman.
Keiji Haino & Derek Bailey – Songs
After making his debut record for Incus Original Gravity, Bevan returned to the label with a new trio, joined by Steve Noble on percussion (Ya Boo, False Face) and Paul Rogers on bass. Quick intuition, a broad dynamic spectrum, and dazzling tonal colors. On a canvas of metallic percussion by Steve Noble, Bevan manipulates his striated tone like a painter adjusting brush strokes- some sounds are long, wide, and spacious, others squat and impossibly dense. This is at the relatively louder end on Bevan's work on Incus - especially when compared to Bevan / Bailey collabs like Limescale and Good Cop, Bad Cop.
Paul Rogers / double bassSteve Noble / percussionTony Bevan / saxophones
Recorded on 25th July 1991 at Holywell Music Room by Michael Gerzon. Produced by Steve Noble & Tony Bevan. Designed by Steve Noble. Photography By Thomi Wroblewski. Post Production by John Hadden
Bevan, Rodgers, Noble – Bigshots
"The Levis are accomplished masters of the warp-speed sound bite: 26 of them here, set out like a board of weird sushi. Though most clock in at between 30 seconds and pop-single length, there are two more substantial tracks in the middle of the set- the combative "All Against All" and "Lady Ms Girl Shine"- which confirm that this isn't just a comic put on." - Penguin Guide to Jazz
Bob Stagner / percussion, fiddle, zither, cymbal, rototoms, drum machine, violin, cowbell
Dennis Palmer / synthesizers, drum machine, effects
1. The Popcorn Gomer - 1:242. Rev Jim's Belly - 1:203. Quarrelsome Brother Love - 0:324. Sunday School Breakfast - 1:575. Green Eyed Lovely Chimp - 1:446. Big For My Size - 2:037. Humming Devil - 2:098. Bullet Proof Cross - 5:409. Dob On Ah Stob - 1:2910. All Sweet Like Babies - 1:4311. Vampires Like To Bite - 1:5712. Tiny Tarkus - 1:4313. Magic Pulpit Ride - 1:0814. All Against All - 7:4815. Lady Ms. Girl Shine - 4:0316. Heart Beam - 2:0417. Sissy Gladiators - 1:3918. Hip Oh Critter - 2:1619. Two Cycle Hell Harp - 0:4720. Jumping Devil "Seven Examples" - 1:5521. Merry Dang Soul - 1:3222. Astral Peeper - 1:0923. Where's The Bible? - 1:5524. Catbird Technique - 2:1325. Lil' Hellbender - 1:5926. Corpse O' Earth - 2:43
Produced by Ray Norwood. Tracks 1 to 11 were recorded mixed and engineered at the Sound Lab, Chattanooga, Tennessee, January-April 1992. Tracks 12 to 26 were recorded in Palmer's basement in June 1992.
Shaking Ray Levis – False Prophets Or Dang Good Guessers
"Well a word you used that started with an A, that's like a four letter work to me. I don't even say that word no more...I tried to get a gig at the Blue Note...and they used that word again, they used that word, and then they said, well he's part of that word and that's the reason he can't get a gig at the Blue Note." - David Murray on the evils of the word avant-garde, quoted in the booklet notes to 'A Sanctuary Within' (Black Saint, 1992)
Alan Wilkinson / alto & baritone saxophone Stefan Jaworzyn / electric guitar
Recorded by Giles Perring at Red Rose Club, February 27, 1996. Mastered by Dennis Blackham and Country Masters. Artwork by Gina Southgate. Cover design by Alan Wilkinson, Karen Brookman, Stefan Jaworzyn
Stefan Jaworzyn & Alan Wilkinson – In A Sentimental Mood
"John, Kent and I played only once as a trio, a convert in November 1992, and this is the recording of it. We Planned more work as a trio and John was in the process of setting up some others at the time of his death. So, as it turned out, it was just the one time." - Derek Bailey
Derek Bailey / electric guitar
John Stevens / drums & mini trumpet
Kent Carter / bass
Recorded November 1992, Leicester, England.
Stevens / Carter / Bailey – One Time
"Exemplary studio sound as England's most adept and creative trio encounter the nouveau-guitar wizard from Sharon, Massachusetts. The rhythm players dive into a bluesy, groovy mesh of bass/guitar twangs, tinder which Alan Wilkinson's vocalised sax fumes and ignites Brötzmania with added humour and colouration. Joe Morris's notes fly like pips squeezed from an orange, his native lyricism stressed into steel by the surrounding tensions. Bows And Buttons closes with a savage baritone outburst that balances what's preceded with staggering aesthetic precision." - Ben Watson
Alan Wilkinson / saxophonesSimon Fell / double bassPaul Hession / drumsJoe Morris / guitar
Recorded at The Blizzard Condition [for the Termite Club], Leeds 14th June 1996 by Damien Bowskill.
Hession / Wilkinson / Fell + Morris – Registered Firm
"In 1980, when these four pieces were recorded, John Zorn and I had been playing together for about three years. Four pieces from two different concerts are presented in their entirety. Now I wouldn't dream of touching them, but from my 80's notebook scribbling I can see that although we certainly were enamoured with these duets and thought they were better than anyting anybody else was doing (a musicians right!) we at the same time saw the process as sort of dispensible: another duet concert would be coming around the corner, it might be even better, maybe one day a good recording might get made out of one. Now I listen to these pieces and hear them as complete and perfect, and I wonder how we were able to create them in the midst of such confusion, insecurity and indifference. But hey, the pay was great! My notes indicate John and I split $30 for one of these shows." - Eugene Chadbourne, 1996.
John Zorn / saxophones, balloons, bucket
Eugene Chadbourne / dobro, acoustic & electric guitar, contact microphones
Recorded in the state of New York 1980.
Eugene Chadbourne / John Zorn – In Memory Of Nikki Arane
"Continuous change is the hallmark of Bert's musical practice. His sonic version of perpetual motion turns up in many dimensions at once - timbral, rhythmic, gestural, melodic, rhetorical, dramatic, and much more - so that playing with Bert often becomes a matter of finding, somewhere, a sound that he isn't playing at the moment, a sound that you can grab onto as a life preserver to save you from getting smoked right out the room." - George Lewis
George E. Lewis / trombone
Bertram Turetzky / contrabass
Recorded by Sonic Solutions November 26th 1997. Design & layout by Karen Brookman. Photograph of George Lewis by Betty Freeman.
George E. Lewis & Bertram Turetzky – Conversations