Company - Company 91 Volume 1

First two days of Company Week 1991 where musicians came together for five days improvisation - most of them meeting for the first time.

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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

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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. 

Available as 16bit FLAC or 320kbp MP3

Derek Bailey

Derek Bailey was one of the most influential and adventurous experimental guitarists to come from England (Sheffield), evolving out of the trad-jazz scene of the fifties into the avant/jazz scene in '60s London. By the late sixties he was a member of the Joseph Holbrooke Trio, Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Music Improvisation Company which later became the amorphous Company under his leadership. These groups were at the birth and center of the British free-jazz scene. In the early seventies, Derek Bailey and Evan Parker started their own record label called Incus Records - one of the first artist-run labels. 

Although Derek played with members of the British free/jazz scene, he also forged relationships with a number of European players like Han Bennink & Peter Brötzmann, Japanese free players like Abe Kaoru, Toshinori Kondo, as well as American improvisers like Anthony Braxton, George Lewis and John Zorn to name a few. 

Derek organized an annual festival called Company Week in the 80's & 90's, which brought together a unique group of international improvisers from varied backgrounds.

"He was a man who repelled pretension, refused to be shoehorned into comfortable categories, and played amazing guitar." - John Butcher

"I do not subscribe to the idea that free improvisation began or ends with any individual. This only suggests that somehow the music Derek made was so individualistic that it failed to communicate anything beyond personal expression." - Eddie Prevost 

Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill. 

"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." - The Jazzmann 

Paul Lovens

Paul Lovens plays drums, percussion, singing saw and various selected and unselected cymbals. Since the early 1970's then he has played with musicians such as Cecil Taylor, Harri Sjöström, Günther Christmann, Eugene Chadbourne, Peter Brötzmann, Teppo Hauta-Aho, Mats Gustafsson, Thomas Lehn, Phil Wachsmann, and Joëlle Léandre. He also played with Florian Schneider and Ebehard Kranemann in an early incarnation of Kraftwerk. Lovens has run the record label Po Torch with Paul Lytton since 1976.

“Paul Lovens somehow epitomises the free drummer/percussionist who is not there to lay down the beat and kick everyone else into action but to listen, colour, contribute, guide, and occasionally direct, the overall cooperative sound. In concert one cannot fail to be moved by his intensity and concentration and there is an overiding feeling that even the most random events are somehow planned in time. In this respect, there is a nice irony that on the Nothing to read CD with Mats Gustafsson, Lovens describes his kit as consisting of 'selected and unselected drums and cymbals'. Miking seems to be a problem at times with some recordings giving him undue prominence and others insufficient. Good recordings are Elf Bagatellen, Nothing To Read, Pakistani Pomade, and Stranger Than Love.” – EFI