119

Company: Epiphany

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Company: Epiphany Quite simply, Company produced some of the most stimulating improvised music you will ever hear.

These recordings date from the Company Week held in June and July 1982. Having begun in 1976, by 1982 this annual improvisation festival was an established (and eagerly awaited) part of the calendar (even if the venue and time of year were unpredictable). Typically, Derek Bailey was looking beyond the cosy [his word] group of tried-and-trusted improvisers and was inviting musicians to Company Week who were not necessarily improvisers or who came from very different traditions. So where the 1977 Company had featured improv "stars" like Leo Smith, Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker, the 1982 line-up shuffled the pack, with well-known improv names like Keith Tippett, Fred Frith and George Lewis being joined by concert pianist Ursula Oppens and composer & harpist Anne LeBaron. By 1982, Bailey was playing regulary in Japan and had established links, so he also invited Motoharu Yoshizawa on bass and Akio Suzuki on assorted instruments like glass harmonica. Such variety and eclecticism became a regular feature of later Company Week line-ups.

The music on the two CDs is typical of Company. One CD features a long improvisation on which all the musicians play. The second contains shorter pieces by various sub-groupings. The personnel of such sub-groupings was decided just before the players went on stage, with no prior indication of what they might be. Would it be a duo between Oppens and Yoshizawa? Or a quintet with Bailey, Frith, Lewis, Tippett and Suzuki? It was this unpredictability—for the players and the audiences—that made Company Weeks so exciting and stimulating. No-one had any advance idea of the size of a group or of its instrumentation or personnel. Even for experienced improvisers, this lent a cutting edge to these events. Live, some combinations gelled and soared while others could fall flat or be rather dull. (But would it be exciting to watch tight rope walking if no-one ever fell off?) On record, only the best bits survive. The results are as varied as the personnel, but always (always!) worth listening to.

A decade ago, unpredictable as ever, Bailey stopped convening Company Week. Releases like this are a reminder of how much it is missed.


Track Listing: Epiphany; Epiphanies:- First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth.

Personnel: Ursula Oppens, piano; Fred Frith, electric guitar, live electronics, percussion; George Lewis, trombone; Anne LeBaron, harp; Akio Suzuki, glass harmonica, analapos, spring gong, kikkokikiriki; Julie Tippetts, acoustic guitar, voice, flute; Moto Yoshizawa, bass; Keith Tippett, piano; Phil Wachsmann, violin, electronics; Derek Bailey, electric & acoustic guitars.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Incus


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Petite Moutarde" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Moutarde
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Black Ice" CD/LP/Track Review Black Ice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Tomorrow
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Beguiled" CD/LP/Track Review Beguiled
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Andando el Tiempo" CD/LP/Track Review Andando el Tiempo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!