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Company 91 (Bailey / Lovens / Zorn / Buckethead): Volume 3 (Incus)

Guitarist Derek Bailey organized "Company Week" sessions to help musicians break out of their familiar patterns by having them play in varying combinations over several nights, here with Pat Thomas (electronics & keyboards), Paul Lovens (percussion), Paul Rogers (bass), Buckethead (guitar), Yves Robert (trombone), Vanessa Mackness (voice), John Zorn (saxophone), & Alexander Balanescu (violin).

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Alexander Balanescu-violin

Vanessa Mackness-voice

Yves Robert-trombone

Derek Bailey-guitar

Paul Lovens-percussion

Pat Thomas-electronics, keyboard


John Zorn-alto saxophone

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Label: Incus
Catalog ID: CD18
Squidco Product Code: 4959

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 1994
Country: UK
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded in 1991 by Matt Saunders and Paul Wilson.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

Guitarist Derek Bailey organized "Company Week" sessions to help musicians break out of their familiar patterns by having them play in varying combinations over several nights, here with Pat Thomas (electronics & keyboards), Paul Lovens (percussion), Paul Rogers (bass), Buckethead (guitar), Yves Robert (trombone), Vanessa Mackness (voice), John Zorn (saxophone), & Alexander Balanescu (violin). he Company '91 discs are the most thorough collection of Company weeks. This volume culls from the final two nights of this week in 1991.

Artist Biographies

"Alexander Bălănescu (Romanian pronunciation: [alekˈsander bələˈnesku]) (born 11 June 1954) is a Romanian violinist, and founder of the Balanescu Quartet.

Bălănescu was born in Bucharest, and at the age of seven went to the Special School for Music there. His teachers in Romania were Dolly Koritzer, Garabet Avakian and Stephan Gheorghiu. His studies continued at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem with Iair Kless, London's Trinity College with Bela Katona, and from 1975-79 at the Juilliard School, New York with Dorothy DeLay, where he also took part in master classes with Pinchas Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman, Felix Galimir and Robert Mann.

In 1979 Bălănescu became leader of the Michael Nyman Band and toured with this group around the world for 15 years. During the same period he was also a member of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble.

Bălănescu was in the Arditti Quartet for four years before forming his own quartet in 1987. The Balanescu Quartet has worked closely with Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, Kevin Volans, as well as musicians from varied musical fields such as John Lurie, David Byrne, Keith Tippett, Carla Bley, Rabih Abou Khalil, Spiritualized and the Pet Shop Boys. The dynamism of the quartet and its innovative approach to repertoire has led to performances on four continents in diverse venues, ranging from intimate clubs to stadiums.

Collaborations as composer/performer include, in dance, with Meryl Tankard, Pina Bausch, Rosemary Lee, Suzy Blok, Jochen Ulrich, Phillipe Saire and Virgilio Sieni, and in theatre productions at Theatre de la Place, Liege, Belgrade State Theatre, Cabaret Dromesko, Rennes, and Watford Palace Theatre. Bălănescu's credits as a composer of film and TV music include the feature films Angels & Insects (dir. Philip Haas), Le Poulpe (dir. Guillaume Nicloux), Il Partigiano Johnny (dir. Guido Chiesa), Eisenstein (dir. Renny Bartlett) and The Way I Spent the End of the World (dir. Cătălin Mitulescu) and over 20 animated films, the majority with his longstanding collaborator the director Phil Mulloy. In 2008 he wrote the music for the Hungarian film Tablo (dir. Gábor Dettre), performed by the Balanescu Quartet. 2009 saw a renewal of his collaboration with the director Philip Haas for the film installations Skeletons Warming themselves by the Fire and The Death of Pentheus commissioned by the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. The Death of Pentheus was also screened at the Venice Film Festival.

His increasingly strong links with his Romanian roots have been the catalyst for a collaboration with the singer and actress Ada Milea, resulting in the pieces The Island and God's Playground.

Bălănescu was commissioned by Opera North to set a Shakespeare sonnet as part of the presentation of Shakespeare's complete works by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2007. Also that year, Bălănescu was awarded the inaugural "Gopo" award for best original soundtrack for his work on The Way I Spent the End of the World. April 2007 saw the première by the Bruckner Orchestra under Ingo Metzmacher, of the full length ballet Lorenzaccio commissioned by the Landestheater, Linz, with choreography by Jochen Ulrich.

One can find recordings of Bălănescu's original work on his albums for Mute (Maria T, Possessed, Luminitz, Angels & Insects) as well as his tribute to the Yellow Magic Orchestra, East Meets East (Con-Sipio), his score for the Italian war film Il Partigiano Johnny (Virgin, Italy), collaborations with electronic artists, Lume, Lume (Staubgold), being featured on Carla Bley's Big Band Theory, as well as guesting on albums by Goldfrapp, Gianna Nanini, Malika, To Rococo Rot, Spiritualized, Rabih Abou Khalil, The Pet Shop Boys and Grace Jones. He has also documented on record his collaborations with the Russian accordionist Evelina Petrova, Upside Down (Leo records), as well as his quartet with the guitarist Maurizio Brounod, Claudio Cojanitz and Masimo Barbieri, Marmaduke (splasc(H)records) and Luigi Cinque's group Luna Reverse (EMI).

He is a performer of contemporary music and can be heard playing an arrangement of the University Challenge TV quiz programme intro and outro theme. He has also performed on many of Peter Greenaway's films including The Draughtsman's Contract and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. Several short animated films by Phil Mulloy use his music.

He founded and leads the Balanescu Quartet and is a founding member of the Michael Nyman Band, performing on most of their albums, except between 1994 and 1998, as well as other ensembles playing Michael Nyman's music. He left the band during the recording of Facing Goya, and his concertmaster seat was assumed by Gabrielle Lester.

Balanescu has lived in London for over 40 years and is married to the viola player Katie Wilkinson."

-Wikipedia (

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"Vanessa Mackness successfully completed a degree in Fine Art Painting at the Camberwell School of Art in the late 1970s. Her interest in improvised singing developed through meetings with Phil Minton and Maggie Nicols, while further study occured with the singer/composer/instrumentalist Gilles Petit and opera/jazz singer/voice practitioner Maurice-Bertrand Quintart. In addition her aquaintance with Imrat Khan and occassional study with his son Nishat Khan facilitated a broadening of her approach to the voice as instrument. Since 1985, Mackness has worked with, among others, Evan Parker, Phil Minton, Maggie Nicols, Eddie Prevost, Louis Moholo, Alexander Balanescu, Keith Tippett, Wolfgang Gutler, Barry Guy and Phil Wachsmann. She also works with Derek Bailey and has performed at two Company Weeks (1990 and 1991). Her duo with John Butcher has been in existence since Company Week 1990, and since then they have broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Music in our Time and released a recording on Incus. She has sung in Tom Phillips' opera IRMA in England and America (though not on the recorded version), and in the eight-voice Machno project, led by Phil Minton and Veryan Weston, at the 1993 Taktlos Festival. In October 1993 Vanessa Mackness performed solo at the Total Music Meeting in Berlin and more recently took part in Reiner Korff's composition for 35 musicians at the Peter Edel Festival in Berlin."

-European Free Improv (EFI) (

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"Born in 1958, Yves Robert studied flute and trombone at the Vichy Conservatory for 9 years. He feels very quickly attracted by jazz, his energy, and the feeling of spirited freedom that he provides. To celebrate and dream of being, he decides to be virtuoso and works with multiple sound techniques (multiphonies, slaps, continuous breath, aspiration,) History to be unmatched adaptable and appreciated.

After, comes the time of the conquests: In 1981, he joined the ARFI (Association for the Research of an Imaginary Folklore) in Lyon, and the GRIM in Marseille in 1983 and organizes musical meetings, concerts, festivals, educational workshops. Talented improviser, he became a reference trombonist of contemporary jazz and played on the biggest stages of Europe with among others Bernard Lubat, Chris Mc Gregor, National Jazz Orchestra 1986, and 1997/2000, Daniel Humair, Gérard Marais, Derek Bailey, Michel Portal, Marc Ducret, Joelle Leandre, Louis Sclavis, Francois Corneloup, Jacques Pellen, tour with "Prohibition", with "Bumcello" ....

So it's not bad and it's going well but it's not just jazz in his world, and his obvious scenic ease brings him to collaborate on different musical shows.

"La Baraque Rouge" Gérard Marais' jazz opera, "Futurities" Steve Lacy's music and dance, "Silences" Joëlle Léandre's musical theater, "L'Opéra des Pékins" by Antoine Hervé, "Double number" Duo dance music Yves Robert / Georges Appaix, "Peppermint Soda" Spectacle dance music with Anna Rodriguez, Alvaro Morell, "Oder die Glücklose Landung" by Heiner Goebbels, "The the sound" musical show young audience with J.Marie Maddeddu, "The most clear of my time "multimedia theater ...

He also composes several documentary film and dance shows, including the soundtrack of "A Specialist" (1999 Real: Eyal Sivan, Rony Brauman) on the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem."

-Yves Robert Website (Translated by Google) (

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"Derek Bailey (29 January 1930 - 25 December 2005) was an English avant-garde guitarist and leading figure in the free improvisation movement.

Bailey was born in Sheffield, England. A third-generation musician, he began playing the guitar at the age of ten, initially studying music with his teacher and Sheffield City organist C. H. C. Biltcliffe, an experience that he did not enjoy, and guitar with his uncle George Wing and John Duarte. As an adult he worked as a guitarist and session musician in clubs, radio, dance hall bands, and so on, playing with many performers including Morecambe and Wise, Gracie Fields, Bob Monkhouse and Kathy Kirby, and on television programs such as Opportunity Knocks. Bailey's earliest foray into 'what could be called free improvised music' was in 1953 with two other guitarists in their shared flat in Glasgow. He was also part of a Sheffield-based trio founded in 1963 with Tony Oxley and Gavin Bryars called "Joseph Holbrooke" (named after the composer, whose work they never actually played). Although originally performing relatively "conventional" modal, harmonic jazz this group became increasingly free in direction.

Bailey moved to London in 1966, frequenting the Little Theatre Club run by drummer John Stevens. Here he met many other like-minded musicians, such as saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpet player Kenny Wheeler and double bass player Dave Holland. These players often collaborated under the umbrella name of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, recording the seminal album Karyobin for Island Records in 1968. In this year Bailey also formed the Music Improvisation Company with Parker, percussionist Jamie Muir and Hugh Davies on homemade electronics, a project that continued until 1971. He was also a member of the Jazz Composer's Orchestra and Iskra 1903, a trio with double-bass player Barry Guy and tromboneist Paul Rutherford that was named after a newspaper published by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.

In 1970, Bailey founded the record label Incus with Tony Oxley, Evan Parker and Michael Walters. It proved influential as the first musician-owned independent label in the UK. Oxley and Walters left early on; Parker and Bailey continued as co-directors until the mid-1980s, when friction between the men led to Parker's departure. Bailey continued the label with his partner Karen Brookman until his death in 2005[citation needed].

Along with a number of other musicians, Bailey was a co-founder of Musics magazine in 1975. This was described as "an impromental experivisation arts magazine" and circulated through a network of like-minded record shops, arguably becoming one of the most significant jazz publications of the second half of the 1970s, and instrumental in the foundation of the London Musicians Collective.

1976 saw Bailey instigate Company, an ever-changing collection of like-minded improvisors, which at various times has included Anthony Braxton, Tristan Honsinger, Misha Mengelberg, Lol Coxhill, Fred Frith, Steve Beresford, Steve Lacy, Johnny Dyani, Leo Smith, Han Bennink, Eugene Chadbourne, Henry Kaiser, John Zorn, Buckethead and many others. Company Week, an annual week-long free improvisational festival organised by Bailey, ran until 1994.

In 1980, he wrote the book Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice. This was adapted by UK's Channel 4 into a four-part TV series in the early '90s, edited and narrated by Bailey.

Bailey died in London on Christmas Day, 2005. He had been suffering from motor neurone disease."

-Wikipedia (

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"Born in Aachen, Germany, 6 June 1949; Drums, percussion, musical saw, etc.

Paul Lovens played the drums as a child. Self-taught, from the age of 14 he played in groups of various jazz styles and popular musics and from 1969 has worked almost exclusively as an improvisor on individually selected instruments. He has worked internationally with most of the leading musicians in free jazz and free improvisation, among whom have included the Globe Unity Orchestra, the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Schlippenbach trio, Quintet Moderne, Company, and a duo with Paul Lytton. He has undertaken concert tours in more than 40 countries, is a founder member of a musician's cooperative and has produced recordings for his own label, Po Torch Records since 1976. He has worked with painter Herbert Bardenheuer. Despite very rare solo performances, and although giving occasional concerts with ad-hoc groups and an involvement in projects with film, dance and actors, Paul Lovens' main interest and work is musical improvisation in fixed small groups. In the mid-1990s these small groups numbered around 16, of which a few were part of a special selection, called 'vermögen'.

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."

-European Free Improv (

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"Born 27 July 1960; Piano, electronics. Pat Thomas started playing at the age of 8 and studied classical music and played reggae. He began playing jazz at sixteen after seeing Oscar Peterson on television then listened to snatches of jazz on the radio before, in 1979, playing his first serious improvised gigs. From 1986 he played with Ghosts which was Pete McPhail and Matt Lewis.

In addition to programming his keyboards, Pat Thomas also utilises prerecorded tapes. He told Chris Blackford (1991), 'As far as the tapes are concerned I'll probably just sit in front of the TV and tape whatever's going on and so some editing afterward to decide what might be useful. ...But I don't actually put a label on each tape saying what's on there, so when I come to use them I don't know what I'm going to be playing. That obviously prevents me from setting things up. I pick them at random and see what happens. So I'm just as surprised as anybody else at what comes out'.

In 1988 he was awarded an Arts Council Jazz Bursary to write three new electroacoustic compositions for his ten-piece ensemble, Monads: Roger Turner and Matt Lewis, percussion; Pete McPhail, WX7 wind synthesizer; Neil Palmer, turntables; Phil Minton, voice; Phil Durrant, violin; Marcio Mattos, bass; Jon Corbett, trumpet; Geoff Searle, drum machines. The intention was to feature different aspects of electronics using improvisation so, for example, one piece - Dialogue - featured Pete McPhail and Neil Palmer, another concentrated on the interaction of percussionists and drum machines, and a third piece had Phil Minton and Jon Corbett improvising with a computer. The pieces were performed at the Crawley Outside-In Festival of new music in 1989.

Pat Thomas was invited by Derek Bailey to play in Company Week in 1990 and 1991 and he also took part in the Ist International Symposium for Free Improvisation in Bremen with the guitarist. He has been a member of the Tony Oxley Quartet (documented on Incus CD 15) and played in Oxley's Angular Apron along with Larry Stabbins, Manfred Schoof and Sirone at the 8th Ruhr Jazz Meeting and in the percussionist's Celebration Orchestra. He plays with Lol Coxhill in a range of combinations from duo to being a member of 'Before my time', is a member of Mike Cooper's Continental Drift, and he has a well established duo with percussionist Mark Sanders and a trio with Steve Beresford and Francine Luce. In 1992 Pat Thomas formed the quartet Scatter with Phil Minton, Roger Turner and Dave Tucker; funded by the Arts Council they toured the UK in 1993 and again at the beginning of 1997.

On the 'Festival circuit', Pat Thomas has appeared at: the Young Improvisors Festival at the Korzo Theatre, Den Haag (with Jim O'Rourke, Mats Gustafsson and Alexander Frangenheim); Angelica 95 in Bologna, Italy; the Stuttgart 5th Festival of Improvised Music 96 (with Fred Frith, Shelly Hirsch, Carlos Zingaro and others); and the 3rd International Festival 96 in Budapest (with Evan Parker, Phil Minton, John Russell and Roger Turner).

-EFI (

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"Brian Patrick Carroll (born May 13, 1969), known professionally as Buckethead, is an American multi-instrumentalist musician who has received critical acclaim for his electric guitar playing, and is considered one of today's most innovative guitarists. His music spans many genres, including progressive metal, funk, blues, bluegrass, ambient, and avant-garde music. He performs primarily as a solo artist, though he has collaborated extensively with a wide variety of high-profile artists such as Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Iggy Pop, Les Claypool, Serj Tankian, Bill Moseley, Mike Patton, Viggo Mortensen, That 1 Guy, Bassnectar, and was a member of Guns N' Roses from 2000 to 2004. He has released 305 studio albums, four special releases, and one EP. He has also performed on more than 50 other albums by other artists.

When performing, Buckethead wears a KFC bucket on his head, emblazoned with an orange bumper sticker reading FUNERAL in block letters, and an expressionless plain white mask inspired by Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. At one point, he changed to a plain white bucket without a KFC logo, but subsequently reverted to his trademark KFC bucket. He also incorporates nunchaku and robot dancing into his stage performances.

Buckethead has been voted number 8 on a list in GuitarOne magazine of the "Top 10 Fastest Guitar Shredders of All Time" as well as being included in Guitar World's lists of the "25 all-time weirdest guitarists" and the "50 fastest guitarists of all time". Buckethead has written and performed music for major motion pictures, including Saw II, Ghosts of Mars, Beverly Hills Ninja, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Last Action Hero, and contributed lead guitar to the track "Firebird" featured on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie soundtrack."

-Wikipedia (

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"John Zorn (born September 2, 1953) is an American composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist, and multi-instrumentalist with hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, and producer across a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, surf, metal, klezmer, soundtrack, ambient, and improvised music. He incorporates diverse styles in his compositions which he identifies as avant-garde or experimental. Zorn was described by Down Beat as "one of our most important composers".

Zorn established himself within the New York City downtown music movement in the mid-1970s performing with musicians across the sonic spectrum and developing experimental methods of composing new music. After releasing albums on several independent US and European labels, Zorn signed with Elektra Nonesuch and received wide acclaim with the release of The Big Gundown, an album reworking the compositions of Ennio Morricone. He attracted further attention worldwide with the release of Spillane in 1987, and Naked City in 1989. After spending almost a decade travelling between Japan and the US he made New York his permanent base and established his own record label, Tzadik, in the mid-1990s.

Tzadik enabled Zorn to maintain independence from the mainstream music industry and ensured the continued availability of his growing catalog of recordings, allowing him to prolifically record and release new material, issuing several new albums each year, as well as promoting the work of many other musicians. Zorn has led the hardcore bands Naked City and Painkiller, the klezmer/free jazz-influenced quartet Masada, composed over 600 pieces as part of the Masada Songbooks that have been performed by an array of groups, composed concert music for classical ensembles and orchestras, and produced music for opera, sound installations, film and documentary. Zorn has undertaken many tours of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, often performing at festivals with many other musicians and ensembles that perform his diverse output.

Zorn's compositions cross many genres and he has stated "All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I'm an additive person-the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can't see the connections, but they are there." For Zorn "Composing is more than just imagining music-it's knowing how to communicate it to musicians. And you don't give an improviser music that's completely written out, or ask a classical musician to improvise. I'm interested in speaking to musicians in their own languages, on their own terms, and in bringing out the best in what they do. To challenge them and excite them." "

-Wikipedia (

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Track Listing:

1. JZ/YR Part 1 8:37

2. JZ/YR Part 2 5:54

3. VM/AB/PL/PT 9:30

4. PT/PR/BK 6:16

5. DB/AB/YR/JZ/VM Part 1 6:09

6. DB/AB/YR/JZ/VM Part 2 2:16

7. DB/AB/YR/JZ/VM Part 3 6:32

8. PL/YR/PR/JZ 11:02

9. BK/DB 12:32

Related Categories of Interest:

European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Bailey, Derek
Zorn. John
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