Derek Bailey (b. 29 January 1930, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, d. 25 December 2005, London, England) established the Company week/festival in 1977 and, despite all the odds, several changes of venue and the occasional annual hiccup, the unpredictability of its financial success (or otherwise) it remained going, strong and ever-surprising, into the early 00s. Bailey’s idea was to bring together musicians with a shared interest in improvisation, and the label they laboured under (jazz or not: Bailey wanted to avoid the name) was irrelevant. He would assemble a collection of musicians and see what happened, the musicians themselves forming and dissolving playing units as the week went on. Potentially a recipe for disaster, the results were never less than intriguing, and frequently splendid. Music from many of the sessions was recorded and issued on Bailey’s Incus label.
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