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 saxophone
Derek Bailey / guitar
Wadada Leo Smith / trumpet, flute
Evan Parker / soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Steve 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.
Available as 16bit FLAC or 320kbp MP3
1. LS/MR/DB/TH/AB/SL/EP - 25:39
2. SL/AB-1 - 10:02
3. SL/AB-2 - 4:24
4. EP/TH/AB-1 - 6:10
5. EP/TH/AB-2 - 1:42
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
"If you've ever been tempted by free improvisation, Parker is your gateway drug." - Stewart Lee
Evan Parker has been a consistently innovative presence in British free music since the 1960s. Parker played with John Stevens in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, experimenting with new kinds of group improvisation and held a long-standing partnership with guitarist Derek Bailey. The two formed the Music Improvisation Company and later Incus Records. He also has tight associations with European free improvisations - playing on Peter Brötzmann's legendary 'Machine Gun' session (1968), with Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens (A trio that continues to this day), Globe Unity Orchestra, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, and Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO).
Though he has worked extensively in both large and small ensembles, Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, multiphonics and cross-pattern fingering. These are technical devices, yet Parker's use of them is, he says, less analytical than intuitive; he has likened performing his solo work to entering a kind of trance-state. The resulting music is certainly hypnotic, an uninterrupted flow of snaky, densely-textured sound that Parker has described as "the illusion of polyphony". Many listeners have indeed found it hard to credit that one man can create such intricate, complex music in real time.
After studied classical music in Boston, Honsinger moved to Montreal in 1969, then to Europe in 74, started improvisation with Derek Bailey’s Company, Misha Mengelberg & Han Bennink’s ICP, Alexander von Schlippenbach’s Globe Unity almost in the same period, also became a member of Cecil Tailor’s european unit. In 80’s he developed his own style of performance including acting, dance, narratives, started a group “This That and the Other” with Toshinori Kondo, Sean Bergin, Tiziana Simona. He has been composing for the group, string ensembles, chorus, mixed with various style of improvisation. Just Off is his latest ensemble founded in 2014 in Japan.
Wadada Leo Smith has been active in the creative contemporary music world for over 30 years and in 2013 was one of the three Finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. A trumpet player, multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser, his original theory of jazz and world music has been significant in his musical development as an artist and educator.
Born in Leland, Miss., Smith's early musical life began in high school concert and marching bands. At the age of 13, he became immersed in the Delta Blues and improvisational music traditions. As an improvisor-composer, Smith has studied a variety of music cultures (African, Japanese, Indonesian, European and American) and to fully express this music, he has developed an original theory and notation system for jazz and world music which he calls Ankhrasmation.
Some of the artists Smith has performed with are Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Richard Teitelbaum, Joseph Jarman, George Lewis, Cecil Taylor, Andrew Cyrill, Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, Carla Bley, David Murray, Don Cherry, Jeanne Lee, Milton Campbell, Henry Brant, Richard Davis, Tadao Sawai, Ed Blackwell, Sabu Toyozumi, Peter Kowald, Kazuko Shiraishi, Han Bennink, Misja Mengelberg, Marion Brown, Kazutoki Umezu, Kosei Yamamoto, Charlie Haden, Kang Tae Hwan, Kim Dae Hwan and Tom Buckner, among many others.