Various Artists

Company 91, Vol. 1

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Company Week had been an ongoing project of guitarist Derek Bailey since the early '80s, the idea being to invite musicians from disparate genres, throw them together in totally improvisatory situations, and see what develops. This session from 1991 included Arditti Quartet violinist Alexander Balanescu, John Zorn, and, the wild card of the bunch, guitarist Buckethead (Brian Carroll). The nine musicians perform in various groupings ranging from two to six members and, generally, the music which results falls into what might be termed "standard" free improv, even a bit tentative at times. A certain feeling-out process can be expected to occur in this type of format and a few of the pieces sound overly cautious. On the other hand, when Bailey and Pat Thomas lock horns, it sounds natural, unforced, and enjoyably conversational. Buckethead, who by 2001 had become a member of the MTV-friendly rock band Guns N' Roses, limits his tendency toward showboating in a raucous duo with Zorn and in an often subdued quartet to close out the disc. The track titles consist of the initials of the musicians performing. Overall, a reasonably satisfying if not spectacular disc.

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